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Pouch Packaging Made Recycle Ready For Consumer Demand

Technological advancements and changing customer tastes can serve as catalysts for packaging innovation. In most cases, improved new packaging options are created to replace outdated ones in the marketplace. And every new solution has a unique set of benefits.

While other packaging innovations better protect goods for travel and display, some developing options are more cost-effective than conventional approaches. Other modifications improve security and shelf life by utilizing cutting-edge technology to safeguard perishables and uphold the quality of both food and non-food products.

Flexible pouches share many of these benefits as their popularity grows, especially when compared to conventional options. Flexible pouches, however, were absolutely disposable until recently, making them unsuitable for producers and consumers who are devoted to sustainable packaging. Innovative thinking is changing that, though, as recyclable pouch packaging is made possible by material advancements.

Steady Shift To Flexible Packaging Materials

The food and beverage packaging business has seen a noticeable transition away from paperboard and rigid containers, a trend that is affecting numerous consumer industries. Part of the reason for the development is lifestyle preferences, which force manufacturers and contract packaging businesses to supply consumers with portable, handy food and drink containers.

In addition to consumer trends, technological improvements also contribute to the market's ongoing expansion for flexible packaging. Food and beverage packagers can now combine different films and barriers into flexible package designs, preventing pouches from punctures and maintaining aseptic seals on the contents. Additionally, value-added characteristics like spouts and stand-up designs make flexible pouches even more appealing and expand their use in both food and non-food applications.

Comparing flexible pouches to conventional stiff alternatives, the following benefits are provided:

  • Lower expenses Flexible packaging delivers cost benefits in a variety of ways. By switching from stiff plastic containers to lightweight pouches, for instance, production and shipping costs can frequently be decreased.

  • Source reduction

  • Improved performance - Flexible pouches perform better than glass and other rigid constructions on a variety of fronts, from end-user performance advantages to greater protection traveling through the supply chain.

  • Reduced weight

  • Dispensing features and intuitive closures

  • Space savings at every distribution level

With so many advantages brought about by switching to flexible packaging, it is simple to understand why pouches are expected to experience more growth in the years to come. However, up until recently, the single-use packaging acquired a negative stigma because it was difficult or impossible to recycle. All of that is now changing as multi-layer pouches made of recyclable materials are becoming more and more successful.

Recycle Ready Innovation Reaches Flexible Pouches

With recent developments in multilayer pouch recycling, Dow Chemical Co. is at the forefront of sustainability advancements in the flexible pouch sector. In late 2015, the business introduced a multi-layer recyclable bag, expanding its RecycleReady range (it had previously created a pouch made entirely of polyethylene). The pouches, which were initially used to promote dishwasher detergent pods, provide instructions for consumers on how to recycle the packaging.

Beyond Dow's initial prototypes for recyclable pouches, the business has now debuted a 100% recyclable stand-up pouch produced with exclusive polymer modifiers. The new pouches have improved barrier properties but look similar to the ones used for dishwashing pods. The new design essentially provides the best of both worlds by acting like a pure polyethylene, recyclable pouch while preserving the barrier qualities required to package a variety of commodities. The multilayer pouch from Dow, which can be recycled in a polyethylene recycling stream, is marketed as the first of its kind.

Traditionally, recycling was not an option for common barrier combinations made of both polyethylene (PE) and ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH). The presence of EVOH frequently led to the development of holes in the recycled film, rendering the pouches unusable for polyethylene recycling procedures. Dow gets around the restriction by beginning the manufacturing process with the addition of a compatibilizer (Retain), creating flexible stand-up pouches that are ideal for film recycling. The recyclable pouches have label information sharing the How2Recycle emblem and explaining the Store Drop-Off program for recyclable films, just like other members of the company's RecycleReady effort. Items are accepted at more than 18,000 places for recycling streams for polyethylene.

Retain was initially created by the company to help post-industrial recyclers in reusing film. Dow is now able to use Retain at the start of the pouch manufacturing process, giving rise to a fully recyclable film with advantageous EVOH barrier qualities. This is a new application of an established technology. The pre-mixed resin mixture can be recycled with other types of film at locations like those found in grocery shops.

Future Of Recyclable Pouch Technology

When used in conjunction with ecologically friendly production and distribution methods, recyclable packaging offers advantages for manufacturers, consumers, and brand owners. Packaging innovation will keep diverting more and more packaging trash from landfills and incinerators with the aid of future advancements in recycling.

Representatives of Dow claim that pouch packaging with a sustainable focus has a promising future. The business expects to create new compatibilizers in addition to expanding the applications for its current line of recyclable pouch solutions. It is believed that these new options would maintain the functionality of flexible pouches without impairing their ability to be recycled, eventually processing pouch materials like polypropylene that have historically impeded recycling procedures. Industry giants like PepsiCo, Nestle, and Proctor & Gamble are supporting coordinated efforts to improve recyclable packaging practices, which is bolstered by collaboration throughout the whole supply chain. For instance, Materials Recovery for the Future is an initiative that brings people together to improve the results of flexible recycling.

The use of flexible, multi-layer pouches in food and non-food applications is growing. Recycling-ready alternatives are entering the market as the adaptable package style continues to meet customer demands for flexibility and convenience. Recyclable multi-layer pouches are now included in the existing polyethylene recycling streams, thanks to technological advancements made by Dow Chemical Company. The company wants to implement similar techniques for other pouch packaging materials as new discoveries are made.

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