Technological watch

Borealis and Mondi collaboration generates recyclable, polypropylene-based packaging

Borealis has generated a breakthrough application based on its proprietary Borstar® Nucleation Technology (BNT) that enhances the circularity of plastic food packaging. Using Borealis BC918CF, a special BNT-modified copolymer, Mondi – a global leader in packaging and paper – is producing new monomaterial packaging solutions for meat and dairy products. These offer the same excellent performance characteristics as conventional multimaterial packaging.

Monomaterial trend in packaging is picking up speedAwareness of the need for more sustainable packaging has become increasingly acute in recent years. However, new material solutions must first be found to serve as suitable alternatives to conventional multi-material plastic materials designs that combine such polymers as polyamide (PA), or Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) with other materials. Despite their efficiency as packaging materials, these traditional plastic multi-material designs result in the rejection of such collected packages during the recycling process and thus reduce yields of mechanical recycling plants and actual materials put back into circulation.

Innovative polypropylene (PP) solutions based on Borealis BC918CF and Borealis RB707CF are viable monomaterial substitutes for multimaterial plastics. In addition to offering a high moisture barrier, their use enables material cost savings thanks to downgauging, as well as efficient processing on film conversion and packaging lines. The combination of both copolymers in production helps achieve even better performance, including both thermal resistance and high transparency

Borealis BC918CF is a most suitable material for downgauging thermoformed packaging. As a specially modified BNT copolymer, it provides excellent mechanical strength, good moisture barrier, and pleasing optics. In modified atmosphere packaging (MAP), it provides the necessary barrier to give meat a shelf-life of up to 12 days.

Why Borstar® Nucleation Technology is good for convertersBorealis developed BNT based on its proprietary Borstar® technology. The nucleating effect of BNT differs from the standard approach of adding a nucleating agent during pelletisation: the nucleating effect here is obtained in situ, in the polymerisation reactor, during the manufacture of PP. This yields several obvious benefits, including a stronger nucleation effect as well as consistent and better dispersion of the nucleating agent. There is no reaction with other additives, such as colour master batches. It offers low taste and odour, and enables full compliance with food contact regulations.

BNT also delivers multiple benefits to converters:

  • Increased stiffness without negatively affecting the drop impact resistance and top load, thus enabling downgauging
  • Good thermoforming behaviour and gauge distribution thanks to the very even crystalline structure of the PP; the modified gas atmosphere can be maintained for longer periods.
  • High dimensional stability, which allows for high packaging speeds and hermetic seals.
“Mondi’s view is that packaging should always be fit-for-purpose – paper where possible, plastic when useful – and sustainable by design,” says Thomas Kahl, Project Manager EcoSolutions for Mondi Consumer Packaging. ”For food packaging, plastic plays a vital role ?– to protect the resources that went into making the food? – by extending shelf life, while also enhancing the package’s recyclability. The latter factor is vital as Mondi continues to support the principles of a circular economy.” 

Publication date: 03/09/2019

Smart Extrusion

This project has been co-funded with the support of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union [LIFE17 ENV/ES/000438] Life programme

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Last update: 2020-07-14