Clariant multiplies efforts to make plastic packaging more sustainable

Woman checking supermarket shelves

Part of a company-wide program to promote sustainability, the Packaging Market Segment within the Masterbatches Business Unit of Clariant (Muttenz, Switzerland) is working to help brand owners and packaging producers realize their objectives for creating packaging that is more environmentally friendly. Clariant’s comprehensive portfolio of additive masterbatches, together with in-house expertise and collaboration with other industry organizations, allows the company to offer solutions in four important areas: Designing packaging for recyclability; facilitating re-use of plastic packaging; supporting the use of bio-based polymers; and increasing acceptance of compostable packaging.

“Plastic packaging is a vital resource for brand owners and represents a safe way to deliver products to the consumer in optimal condition,” stated Alessandro Dulli, Clariant Masterbatches Global Head of Packaging. “Packaging also plays an important role in brand differentiation and brand identity. We must not forget that it is important that industry and consumers work to create a more sustainable packaging model. No single player can achieve these goals alone. They require the collaboration of all stakeholders, and that is what we are working toward in this new initiative.”

To promote the increased use of post-consumer resin, Clariant has developed oxygen-scavenging additive masterbatches that reduce the need for multi-layer, multi-material packaging to extend the shelf life of packaged goods. With only one material involved, the plastic is more readily recyclable, said Clariant.

With the company’s CESA-IR additive masterbatch, dark-colored plastics are visible to the near-infrared sensors used in polymer sorting systems, making these plastics easier to identify.

Clariant is also encouraging reuse by creating products that increase the durability and scratch resistance of plastics; decrease the tendency of materials to yellow over time; resist degradation caused by washing and sterilization; prevent color fading and other aesthetic losses; and control stress cracking and brittleness.

“If all plastic packaging could be reused just one time, the amount of material entering the waste stream would be cut in half immediately,” noted Dulli, “and while we can’t hope to re-use all plastics, we owe it to ourselves and our planet to do the best we can.”

Clariant is also supporting customers that want to offer a 100% bio-based product by developing colors and additives using similarly renewable feedstock. Compostable polymers such as PLA and PHA, for example, are possible solutions to the problem of littering since they are more easily degraded over time in comparison to non-compostable plastics, said Clariant, noting that it is working to “further improve the (already good) shelf life of biopolymers, such as PLA.” With more than 20 years’ experience in manufacturing masterbatches suitable for compostability and certified by technical inspection associations, such as TUV, Clariant ensures these materials meet the requirements.

“At Clariant, we are proud to be imagining the future, driving sustainability and developing practical solutions to the challenges we face,” said Dulli. “At the end of the day, designing for the environment is really just about designing for us all.”

The company will exhibit at K 2019 in booth 8 AJ in hall 11.

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