Pilot Project a Team Effort
Mondi partnered with BASF to process virgin-grade ChemCycled plastic material
Leading global packaging and paper group Mondi, chemicals giant BASF and Dutch produce processor Coroos have recently collaborated on a state-of-the-art pilot project to produce a food-grade stand-up pouch that is partly made with raw material derived from chemically recycled plastic.
Until now, recycling plastic has chiefly been a mechanical process, limiting the scope of plastics that can be recycled and limiting the number of products that can be created with recycled material, due to potential impurities and other flaws that can occur in the plastic layers.
To overcome these drawbacks, Mondi partnered with BASF to process virgin-grade ChemCycled plastic material into a multilayer laminate for food packaging for Coroos’ private-label products and its own flagship-brand Servero brand of fruit spreads and preserves.
In the manufacturing process, 100 per cent of the fossil feedstock was replaced by pyrolysis oil derived from mixed recycled material—allocated via a certified mass balance approach—for one of the inner layers. In total, 12-percent of the packaging weight is made of ChemCycled material.
According to Mondi Consumer Packaging’s sustainability manager Graeme Smith, food packaging should be sustainable by design—using paper where possible, and plastic when useful. For food protection and shelf-life extension, plastic is often the best option because of its barrier properties.
“It is important to show proof of concept when establishing breakthrough developments,” Smith says, “and chemical recycling is an essential part of the roadmap to commercializing this process in the future.”
Adds BASF’s director of polyamide business Christoph Gahn: “BASF is working on advancing the chemical recycling of plastic waste, because this will make it possible to process and reuse plastics that are currently difficult to recycle such as mixed plastics.”
As for Coroos, “We are partnering in this project because we care about sustainability and are looking into different options to improve our footprint by using packaging from recycled materials, as well as for packaging materials that are recyclable or reusable,” says marketing manager Elke Schroevers. “This development paves the way for plastic waste to become a new resource for flexible packaging.”