Technological watch

Collaboration to develop recyclable food-contact barrier shrink film

Dow (NYSE: DOW) and Bolloré have joined forces on a pilot project which enables the use of recycled content in new food-contact packaging applications which can in turn be recycled after use. 

Bollore’s OXBTEC_RCB (Recyclable Circular-Based) barrier shrink film is manufactured with highquality circular polymers from Dow. These polymers come from a feedstock made from 100 percent plastic waste and are developed using advanced recycling. This ground-breaking technology enables mixed used plastics to be broken down into their basic chemical elements and repolymerized into the equivalent of virgin plastic which can then be used in new food-contact applications. Advanced recycling is complementary to conventional recycling processes like mechanical recycling.

This is an important development as it enables hard-to-recycle plastics to be recycled and, importantly, used safely and effectively in food-contact applications, rather than ending up in landfill or incineration. In addition, advanced recycling processes are expected to save approximately 1.5 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of plastic recycled, compared to incinerationi of unrecycled plastics.

This pioneering film is to be rolled out first in the UK, in September, where it will be exclusively distributed by Yorkshire Packaging Systems (YPS), a long-established partner of Bolloré. It will be incorporated into production by their customer Cranswick, a leading supplier of meat and poultry, for the packaging of their whole bird products. Both YPS and Cranswick have comprehensive sustainability pledges in place, for which the introduction of OXBTEC_RCB shrink film represents a significant addition. YPS has committed to a ‘plastic promise’, whereby the business will supply only fully-recyclable, On-Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) approved flexible films to their customers, while also focusing on expanding their offering of films containing recycled content. The fresh food giant has meanwhile launched ‘Second Nature’, an extensive blueprint towards becoming the world’s most sustainable meat business.

Further to advancing a circular economy for plastics, Bolloré’s barrier shrink f ilm – which is designed especially for the packaging of fresh food products - is also supporting the fight against food waste. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, if food waste were a country, it would be the third largest emitting country of greenhouse gases in the worldiii . Bolloré’s barrier shrink film can help prolong the shelf-life of food. For example, by doubling the use-by date of poultry from seven days to 14, the entire supply chain is optimized by increasing the window of safe consumption for the public. The new product has been awarded BRC accreditation from the manufacturing stage to distribution and exceeds all hygiene and safety regulations.

Publication date: 28/09/2021

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: 2022-01-31