The business says its stand-up pouch is the first package of its kind with a barrier film – required for products such as granola or snacks with fruit or nuts - that can be recycled in a polyethylene (PE) recycling stream.
Dow is currently conducting customer trials of its recyclable barrier technology and expects to get packages on shelves by the end of this year. It says such packaging will meet requirements for PE systems such as the How2Recycle program grocery store drop-off label.
“Flexible packaging such as stand-up pouches has not traditionally been recyclable due to the variety and incompatibility of materials used to create these pouches,” said Stacy Fields, North American director of packaging solutions at Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics.
Films used for flexible packaging commonly contain barrier materials such as PA (polyamide) and EVOH (ethylene vinyl alcohol), which prevent them being recycled in typical polyethylene reuse streams.
The origins of the new pouches lay in the Retain polymer modifiers that were introduced by Dow in 2014 to allow material recovery facilities to make EVOH compatible with PE systems.
“Two years ago we recognized an opportunity to use this technology in another way – for existing packaging,” Fields told BakeryandSnacks. The business developed the RecycleReady material using its Retain polymer modifiers.
“After conducting early trials on our own equipment, we validated the process through our industry partners that participate in recycling programs,” she added. “Now, the packages have been designed in advance to go directly into the existing PE recycle streams with no issue.”
Only one type of raw material
Like traditional flexible pouches, the Dow product incorporate multiple layers but uses only basic type of raw material – polyethylene.
Dow added it works with organisations such as the Sustainable Packaging Coalition and Association of Plastic Recyclers to help its packaging meets requirements for current PE recycling streams.
The manufactures said use of stand-up pouches growing 4 to 5% because of the convenience and aesthetics they offer.