Several personal care, chemical, and ink companies are coming together to create packaging that can be recycled and reused more than once.
Clariant, Siegwerk, Borealis, and Beiersdorf are working to create packaging for personal care products that is colorless, made of 100% post-consumer recycled content, and printed with what they call a deinkable sleeve, all of which will make the product easier to eventually be recycled again. The material will also allow for the packaging to be sorted and processed in many current recycling infrastructures, the companies say.
The companies are designing packaging that can create recycled materials from plastic waste for cosmetic products. The process is centered on using a colorless polyolefin bottle with all post-consumer recycled content. In addition to using the deinkable shrink sleeve, it makes all the materials fully recyclable with the potential to be used again in a high-quality package.
The group is calling the initiative Design4Circularity, and by using specialties from across industries hopes that it will encourage more circular packaging innovation.
The idea behind the process is to allow for the production of packaging that maintains the distinctive look and shapes associated with cosmetics packaging and brands. The sleeve was designed to allow different brands to use their own designs.
The personal care industry produces a lot of plastic, especially for packaging. The Guardian reported that the industry produces more than 120 billion units of plastic packaging a year, most of which isn’t recycled or accepted by recycling programs. In the United States, the World Economic Forum says 5% to 6% of plastic is recycled annually.
Earlier this year more than 100 brands in the personal care and beauty industry partnered with rePurpose Global to address the issue and pledged to be plastic neutral or negative, as well as to reduce waste. The increased focus on improving sustainability in packaging has also led to growth in post-consumer recycled plastics and green packaging markets.
According to the Design4Circularity initiative, to give packaging a true second life its material makeup needs to retain quality through each step of the production process.
To help with that, chemical company Borealis is offering post-consumer recycled content through its Borcycle technology. Fellow chemical company Clariant is using an additive platform to protect the quality of the recycled content, which is also designed to protect against polymer chain breakdown with each step of the recycling process. This process is also intended to create a colorless bottle, which will increase post-consumer material quality when recycled at a later time.
Ink company Siegwerk is producing the ink system and is working with personal care company Beiersdorf which will help create a branded bottle sleeve. The bottle and shrink sleeve combination are designed to be removable during the recycling process.
The program has conducted sorting trials in existing recycling infrastructure that showed the bottle’s materials can be sorted and that there was a high rate of recovery. There has also been testing on sleeved and transparent PET bottles, which the companies say achieved similar results.
The companies say advanced technologies such as digital watermarking and artificial intelligence could help the process achieve even more success and quality.
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