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Innovations
Amcor Amlite Image: Amcor

World’s First Recyclable Flexible Retort Pouch Debuts

The barrier pouch developed collaboratively by packaging technology company Amcor and Nestlé pairs polypropylene with a thin, transparent AmLite barrier coating.

The world’s first fully recyclable flexible retort pouch is set to hit store shelves in the Netherlands in October 2020. The high-barrier pouch developed collaboratively by packaging technology company Amcor and Nestlé initially will be used to package wet cat food, with many other products lined up.

Amcor Amlite
Amcor's AmLite barrier coating protects the contents in the polypropylene-based flexible pouch from exposure to oxygen and bacteria. Image courtesy Amcor.

Conventional retort pouches are manufactured with layers of different materials to achieve barrier and performance properties, but the multi-material pouches are not recyclable. Amcor and Nestlé have developed a polypropylene (PP) pouch with a thin, transparent AmLite barrier coating to protect the contents of the packaging. The AmLite coating replaces aluminum that is used in multi-material pouches, but the more recent innovation is the development of a high-performance PP film that can withstand sterilization-scale temperatures, said Amcor. “The result is a pack that can withstand the pressures of heat sterilization and provide a reliable barrier to oxygen and bacteria, keeping food safe without refrigeration for a long shelf life,” added Amcor.

“Amcor and Nestlé together have been able to create a unique solution that for years was thought impossible,” said Michael Zacka, President, Amcor Flexibles EMEA, “This high-barrier, heat-resistant packaging can be easily recycled within plastic recycling streams already existing in several European countries.” Amcor reports that this breakthrough will improve the environmental footprint of consumer packaging by up to 60%.

The new pouch meets the guidelines for a circular economy set forth by the CEFLEX Consortium, which represents the flexible packaging value chain, from materials suppliers such as BASF and Chevron Phillips and converters such as Amcor and Avery Dennison to brand owners including Danone and PepsiCo. The development also represents a milestone in Amcor’s commitment to make all of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025.

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