New Materials Allows Recycling of Polyethylene Barrier Packaging Films

New RecycleReady Packaging Material from Dow

The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW) is introducing a new member of the recently launched RecycleReady™ Technology, which enables the recyclability of polyethylene-based barrier packaging as part of existing grocery store drop-off recycling programs.

In 2015, collaboration between Dow, the SPC and packaging converter Accredo Packaging produced the Seventh Generation brand’s first recyclable Dishwasher Pods packaging. The innovation was developed in response to customer comments that the product’s previous packaging was not recyclable.

Image © Dow Chemical Company

Midland, Michigan based firm, The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW) is introducing a new member of the recently launched RecycleReady™ Technology, which enables the recyclability of polyethylene-based barrier packaging as part of existing grocery store drop-off recycling programs.  

The company said that the materials has been created through a collaboration with the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) and other industry members.

The technology is said to enable the recycling of packaging for products such as granola and nuts, which was not possible before in flexible packaging.

“Working together with the Sustainable Packaging Coalition and our value chain collaborators was crucial to achieving our breakthrough RecycleReady Technology, which incorporates RETAIN™ polymer modifiers, a key enabler for the recyclability of the packages,” explained Stacy Fields, North America director, Packaging Solutions for Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics.

The stand-up pouch made with RETAIN™ polymer modifiers is claimed to be the first package of its kind with barrier film that can be recycled in a polyethylene recycling stream.

When combined with other polyethylene resins, the RETAIN™ compatibilizer is said to offer a recyclable solution with enhanced barrier characteristics.

The company added that traditionally flexible barrier packaging posed unique recycling challenges due to the variety of materials generally used as part of its makeup.

The technology is intended to divert packaging waste from landfill or incineration, increase post-consumer recycling yields and aid the creation of a circular economy for plastics packaging.

RecycleReady™ Technology in North America has also been approved by the SPC’s How2Recycle program to use the Store Drop-Off label. Plastic film, wrap, and bags carrying the Store Drop-Off label can be recycled at participating local retail and grocery stores.

"It possesses the properties of a multi-layer pouch, but behaves like a pure polyethylene bag in the recycling stream," commented Kelly Cramer, Sustainable Packaging Coalition project manager.

According to Dow the technology will give converters the ability to produce recyclable packaging with ingredients that ensure barrier protection, along with stiffness, toughness and sealability of the package. The recyclable flexible pouches incorporate multiple layers, but use only polyethylene as the basic raw material.

“RecycleReady Technology is a great example of how we can bring breakthrough chemistry and process technology together to meet the needs of converters, brand owners, retailers and consumers,” said Fields. “We’ll advance RecycleReady Technology capabilities through continued collaboration.”

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