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Rigid Plastics

Albéa Creates Recyclable, Monomaterial Package for Beauty Brands

Image: Albea recyclable high-density polyethylene tube and flip-top cap
RecyClass protocol­–based testing demonstrates that the company’s HDPE tube and cap are compatible with rigid HDPE recycling.

Packaging suppliers and brand owners in the food, beverage, and cleaning products markets have made good progress in developing monomaterial packages to enable recycling for previously nonrecyclable packs, such as retort pouches. Now, packaging supplier Albéa has made the same kind of breakthrough for beauty and personal-care packaging, in the form of a recyclable, 100% high-density polyethylene (HDPE) tube and flip-top cap.

Testing by Brussels-based RecyClass confirms that the new cosmetics package is compatible with recycling in the rigid HDPE stream.

Albéa’s package is a thin-wall tube with a white, barrier-coextruded HDPE body, HDPE shoulder, and HDPE snap-on, flip-top cap. The technology uses an ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) barrier layer compatibilized with polyethylene-grafted maleic anhydride (MAH) tie layers.

The Institut für Kunststofftechnologie und -recycling (IKTR) followed the RecyClass Recyclability Evaluation Protocol for HDPE Containers in laboratory analysis of an unprinted Albéa tube and cap. Results showed that the package is fully compatible with recycling. The project marks the first time RecyClass has successfully tested a low-melt flow HDPE flip-top cap.

Recycled plastics made from the recycled tube and cap are compatible with blow molding and can be used to manufacture bottles and other items, with up to 25% concentration.

By offering an alternative to the familiar polypropylene (PP) closures for HDPE tubes, Albéa’s monomaterial package offers packagers and recycling operators the opportunity to decrease the amount of PP in the HDPE recycling stream.

To ensure recyclability and protect the quality of the HDPE recycling stream, the tube’s body and shoulder must be made of clear or white polyethylene, with a prevalence of HDPE. In addition, EVOH concentration cannot exceed 3% of total package weight, and the closure must be made of clear or white low-melt flow HDPE grade. Printing and other forms of tube decoration also must follow RecyClass’ recommendations.

Albéa has publicly committed to making plastic packaging that is 100% recyclable, reusable, or compostable by 2025.

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