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Global Consortium Develops 100% Recyclable PE Pouch

In a breakthrough development, industry leaders ExxonMobil, Henkel, Kraus Folie, Siegwerk, and Windmöller & Hölscher have joined hands in a value chain collaboration to develop a fully recyclable, mono-material polyethylene (PE) pouch.

Having properties similar to its multi-material laminated pouches that can be hardly recycled, the new pouch makes use of the latest polymers, inks, functional coatings, adhesives, and conversion technology to produce an almost colourless recyclate.

This has been achieved by the application of Siegwerk’s de-lamination/de-inking primer technology on a Windmöller & Hölscher MIRAFLEX II flexo printing press with a downstream unit. Siegwerk is currently offering solvent- (SB) or water-based (WB) primers from its CIRKIT ClearPrime product range. Applying industrial hot-washing conditions enables de-lamination and de-inking of the pouch, giving an almost colourless recyclate.

The pack’s excellent oxygen-barrier properties are credited to Henkel’s recently introduced one-component barrier coating, Loctite Liofol BC 1582 RE, and Siegwerks’ CIRKIT OxyBar BC 1582. The coating is compatible with both flexo and gravure presses at industrial machine speeds on a variety of substrates, giving excellent transparency. The cyclos-HTP institute has confirmed the recyclable properties of the pouch which also meets the recommendations of the APR Design Recognition Program of the Association of Plastics Recyclers. Coloured and white inks from Siegwerk were used to match such requirements.

To improve recyclability, Henkel’s new solvent-free, two-component polyurethane laminating adhesive, Loctite Liofol LA 7102 RE/6902 RE was used. The system has been designed for mono-material structures and has been certified by RecyClass for recyclability.

ExxonMobil’s latest performance PE resins – Exceed S and Exceed XP – in combination with its Exact plastomers in the sealant layer, are expected to improve the pack’s integrity. The MDO-PE films have been jointly developed by ExxonMobil and Kraus Folie, produced on a Windmöller & Hölscher VAREX II extrusion line with inline MDO unit using ExxonMobil’s HDPE and Enable performance PE resins.

High primer transparency combined with consistent print quality and the glossy finish of ExxonMobil’s PE-based MDO film delivers excellent shelf appeal to the finished product. De-inking primer, print image, and barrier coating had been applied in a single step using a Windmöller & Hölscher MIRAFLEX machine.

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