Sustainable packaging a big hit in October

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In a bow to the ultra-exciting World Series that played out over the past two weeks, we’ll note that sustainable topics dominated the series 4-1 last month on the packaging channel at PlasticsToday.

That was the number of sustainable packaging stories versus one other topic of interest among those published throughout October as we present the Top 5 Hits in plastics packaging news over the past month.

Agylix graphicLeading that controlling performance was the most-read article of the month, Agilyx, Ineos Styrolution sign joint agreement to develop chemical-based polystyrene recycling in U.S., indicating keen interest in developments about one of the most and most challenging monomaterial polymers in packaging to reuse, foam (expanded) polystyrene, or EPS.

The two companies, Agilyx in the U.S. and Ineos Styrolution of Frankfurt, Germany, signed a joint agreement to develop a recycling process for PS in the United States based on Agilyx’s “chemical recycling” technology. This collaboration applies circular economy principles by recycling PS waste into virgin, high-quality styrenic polymers, thereby reducing plastic waste and allowing for re-use of this valuable material, said a joint press release.

It’s a hot-growth development: additional news on that front was published just this week, Agilyx expands EPS recycling capability, after it was reported that Agilyx had received a $50,000 grant from the Foam Recycling Coalition to purchase a densifier, allowing for more recycling of EPS.

Maybe things are turning around for this much-maligned, yet utilitarian packaging material, is that its forecast in 2016-2025 to see growth at a 5% CAGR, according to a study published last month by Research and Markets. One contributing cause is that EPS is seeing a “rising tide lifts all boats” boost from its use in protecting products for ecommerce shipments.

Explore packaging, plastics and more in Minneapolis November 8-9 during the 15th anniversary of MinnPack that’s co-located with 5 other exhibitions including PLASTEC. For more information, visit the MinnPack website.

At #2 in October is our sole top-read news item that was not directly sustainably related, and involves a can that’s clearly a breakthrough package:  Milacron's Klear Cans introduced in supermarkets in Asia.S&W Fine Foods pineapple chunks in Milacron Klear Can

The Cincinnati-based blowmolder’s partnership with S&W Fine Foods Intl. (San Francisco), a Del Monte Pacific Ltd. Company, brings canned pineapple chunks and slices to stores in Seoul, South Korea, and Shanghai, China, packaged in a transparent can.

The one-of-a-kind Milacron Klear Can is a patented, co-injection molded, polypropylene and ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) plastic can that can be retorted (to 130° C) and seamed to meet all industry standards. The Klear Can is BPA-free for safe food contact, recyclable, and unlike its opaque metal counterparts, is fully microwavable. The brand has plans to expand the rollout over the coming year.

#3 rPTI amber bottleseverts back to the month’s “green” theme with this high-interest story on one of the most popular plastic packaging formats, the highly recyclable PET bottle.

The pinch point comes when those 100% recyclable and commonly recycled bottles are tinted. That’s because only non-colored and lightly-tinted blue PET bottles offer reclaimers a high value in today’s market. Colored PET bottles have limitations for their reuse and therefore a much lower value. What can be done?  That’s the point of this contribution by industry expert  Frank Schloss of Plastic Technologies, Inc., who brings clarity to a murky topic in Amber PET bottles: recycling challenges and opportunities

#4 If there’s any topic in packaging that resonates as loudly with consumers as with plastics industry professionals, it may be that of ocean debris, which explains the popularity of this next article.Fairy soap bottle

Procter & Gamble Co. (Cincinnati) launched the first-ever Fairy Ocean Plastic bottle made from 100% post-consumer recycled (PRC) and ocean plastic in a campaign that aims to raise awareness of the issue of plastics in our waterways and what can be done to prevent plastic waste from reaching the ocean. It was created in partnership with recycling expert TerraCycle and will reach British consumers in 2018 when the UK launch of 320,000 bottles will be the largest production run of recyclable dish soap bottles in the world made using ocean plastic. The innovative bottle will be made from 10% ocean plastic, collected from oceans and beaches around the world, and 90% post-consumer recycled plastic, according to P&G. For more, read Procter & Gamble launches Fairy Ocean Plastic bottle made with 100% recycled plastic.

#5 A unique project that combined the elements of recovering and repurposing plastic scrap to make trash bags that are then used to collect ocean debris hits several hot buttons at once.Dow trash bags from industrial scrap

The effort involved three companies and one organization. Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics, a business unit of DowDuPont Materials Science (Midland, MI), developed the trash bag made from post-industrial plastic scrap. Bemis (Neenah, WI) collected post-industrial plastic scrap and sent them to converter Polykar Inc. (Saint-Laurent, Canada), which used its plastic recycling machines to combine the reclaimed plastics with Dow’s Retain polymer modifiers technology. Polykar used the recycled plastic resin to manufacture the bags that were used to clean up beaches around the United States during Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup on September 16, 2017. PlasticsToday tapped the insider expertise of Jeff Wooster of Dow Packaging who provided a first-hand look at the project details, challenges and implications in Trash bags from industrial plastic waste: 8 questions answered

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