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Pain points and solutions identified by big players at Circular Economy eForum
Source:Adsale Plastics Network    Editor:JK    Date:10.Jun.2022

Low-carbon Commitment: Plastics Recycling, Mono-material and Circular Economy eForum, jointly hosted by CHINAPLAS and Adsale Plastics Network, was successfully held yesterday (9 Jun) as one of the Hot Tech Webinars at CHINAPLAS 2022 Virtual Show.

 

Big players in related industries, such as CEFLEX, Berry, HP, TOMRA and Borouge, shared the latest trends in design, technology and application of sustainable plastic packaging, as well as discussed the pain points and solutions in the context of recycling, mono-material packaging and circular economy.

 

CEFLEX: Good circular design reduces EPR costs

 

In his presentation, Karlheinz Hausmann, Board Director of CEFLEX, said that driven by Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), circular design and legislation, the organization has set up a 5-step roadmap for creating circular economy for flexible packaging.


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"Exploring the importance of Design, EPR and Legislation in a demand driven circular economy" - Karlheinz Hausmann


He is convinced that carrying out good circular design brings positive effects on product sortability, overall recycling cost reduction, recycling quality and end markets, and therefore, reduces EPR costs.

 

Also, Karlheinz Hausmann believes that recycling polyethylene film materials is the key to promoting the recycling of flexible packaging, especially food and medical packaging.


Berry: Optimizing design for higher recyclability


With plenty of case studies, Alex Tong, R&D Manager of Berry ACE (Shanghai) Co., Ltd., shared how Berry achieve reusable, recyclable, and degradable product packaging through optimizing packaging design.

 

In reusable packaging, Berry has developed a reusable roll-on product and vacuum pump product, consumers only need to replace the used bottle each time, and the rest can continue to be used. The container is produced by roller mold processing and can be used in daily chemical or food packaging. Berry has also set up cloud to connect with a special platform to monitor the recycling and processing of these packages.


Recyclable packaging is one of the focuses of Berry’s R&D and production. Its tethered beverage caps are integrated with the bottle, reducing the trouble of recycling and sorting. The anti-theft ring on the bottle cap is not easy to fall off and is recycled together with the bottle cap.

 

Besides, Berry has also developed mono-material pump heads without metal springs, as well as 100% recycled PET bottles and degradable coffee capsules, etc.


Alex Tong mentioned the pain points of mono-material pump heads production, such as limited optional materials (PP/PE), interconnection between pump head parts, e-commerce packaging leak-proof liquid, etc. He emphasized that Berry's international and domestic R&D teams have identified the solutions, which are being validated one by one. Validated solutions will be launched in the near future.

 

POLIFILM: Structure design a key to sustainable flexible packaging

 

Kevin Xi, Gerenal Manager of POLIFILM, discussed recycling solutions for high-barrier mono-material flexible packaging. He also talked about the principles for recyclable flexible packaging: containing over 90% PE and/or PP and PET free; PA and PVDC free; with less than or equal to 5% EVOH; and manufacturing from pure PET composite or single layer PET.


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"Solution for recyclable and ultra-high barrier flexible packaging" - Kevin Xi


He thinks that green design is important for flexible packaging to achieve recyclability. Through optimizing the structure design, POLIFILM offers practical solutions for flexible packaging in terms of functions and recyclability. These solutions enable flexible packaging made from mono polyolefin (based on PE as a heat sealing layer, containing PP film), mono polypropylene, mono polyethylene or mono polyester realize ultra-high barrier applications.


Borouge: Mono-material solutions to replace composite films

 

Tony Sun, Head of Regional Marketing, Packaging, Asia North, Borouge, introduced the company’s post-consumer recycling solutions. These include rLLDPE, rHDPE, rPP (transparent copolymer/homopolymer) recycled from mechanical recycling, which are used in PCR e-commerce packaging, waste collection bags, PCR hygienepackaging, among others.

 

Meanwhile, Clark Duan, Senior Application Development Engineer, Borouge, explained the applications of mono-material solutions. For example, MDO PE film can replace traditional non-recyclable or low-quality recycled PET/BOPP composite films, where good mechanical properties are achieved in composite and core layers with Borstar and Anteo series from Borouge.


Re-mall: Quality of PCR materials needs to be improved 

 

As use of recycled plastics is made mandatory for packaging applications in more countries, Yultuz Raxidin, Marketing Manager at Shanghai Re-mall Environmental Protection New Material Co., Ltd., remarked that developing high-quality rPP and rPE for packaging is now a focus for the industry.


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"The Innovation Application of High Quality Transparent PCR-PP in the Package Field" - Yultuz Raxidin


However, there are challenges, like safety, quality and scale production of PCR materials, needed to be addressed. She explained that during the recycling process of PP takeaway food box, for example, the odor, color and physical properties of the recycled materials still have to be improved.

 

By collecting, closed cleaning and low-loss automatic sorting of food-grade waste, Re-mall produces high-quality rPP with low odor, low impurity and high color development, she said. Those rPP has been successfully used in non-woven packaging, daily chemical packaging and toys.


HP: Six directions help achieve circular economy of plastics

 

Hendry Feng, Sales Director for HP Indigo Flexible Packaging China of HP Inc., analyzed that there are six transitional trends of achieving circular economy in the plastics industry. These include:


- adopt mono-material flexible packaging

- use surface printing

- increase use of alternative materials

- accelerate lightweight packaging

- replace rigid packaging with flexible packaging

- develope degradable packaging


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"HP Indigo Environmental friendly Digital Printing Road" - Hendry Feng


He introduced that that HP Indigo digital printing solution is suitable for flexible packaging, labeling and so on. The solution utilizes concentrated ink technology to reduce the carbon footprint of transportation. Meanwhile, the ink dries quickly, so saves energy consumption.

 

Taking advantage of its energy saving and green technologies, HP will continue boosting packaging sustainability and emissions reduction, emphasized Hendry Feng. 


Moreover, he provided the audience a cloud factory visit by making a live connection to the demonstration center of HP in Singapore, showing the company’s digital process of flexible packaging.


TOMRA: Smart technologies enhance sorting and recycling efficiency

 

Kelly Xie, Head of TOMRA Sorting Recycling China of TOMRA, presented the company’s sensor-based sorting solutions including whole bottle sorting and bottle flake sorting.


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"Sensor-based Sorting Technology, Enable Circular Economy of Plastic" - Kelly Xie


The solutions, employing technologies of GAIN, SHARP EYE, DEEP LAISER and FLYING BEAM, perform whole bottle pre-sorting, she mentioned. After being crushed, cleaned and dried, the bottle flakes are sorted and purified by FLYING BEAM technology and double-sided full-color cameras.

 

In her opinion, making use of smart technologies and working closely with the packaign industry allow turning waste into valuable materials.


Liby: Young consumers to drive the Chinese market

 

Supported by analysis, Sun Yiheng, Head of Packaging R&D at Guangzhou Liby Group Co., Ltd., remarked that consumers, in Europe in particular, are highly concerned about sustainable and environmentally friendly packaging for laundry care and dishwashing products. On the other hand, Chinese consumers are generally paying less attention to green packaging.


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"Green health begins with packaging - the road to sustainable packaging" - Sun Yiheng


Sun Yiheng, however, pointed out that the Chinese consumers aged 18-24 are having higher degree of acceptance of recyclable packaging, possibly making them a driving force for the development and market growth of recyclable packaging in the future.

 

He emphasized that Liby Group has been taking measures in promoting recycling and reuse of its product packaging. The company has labels on its daily chemical products to indicate recyclability, it also turns its laundry bead packaging to fully recyclable using Dow’s TF-BOPE resin.

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