There is a new option on the market for fully recyclable food packaging. Using resin developed by NOVA Chemicals, biaxial film manufacturers have successfully produced biaxially oriented high-density polyethylene (BOPE-HD) film on commercial tenter frame lines. This innovative new material and production method means that brand owners now have a fully recyclable alternative to traditional, non-recyclable mixed material films used in flexible packaging.Developing High-Performance Recyclable Films
First released in 2020, SURPASS® TX150-A resin is the world’s first BOPE-HD resin designed for the tenter frame process. NOVA Chemicals worked with global film manufacturers to bring the films to market, including Inteplast (United States), JK Materials (South Korea), Oben Group (Ecuador), and Polivouga (Portugal).
Adapting the BOPE-HD for a different type of equipment was a challenge. “This was a major transformation that demanded persistence and dedication, and we are confident in our ability to reliably produce BOPE-HD film. The collaboration and feedback we have received from our customers has been a key factor for our success,” said Rafael Bayona, Inteplast’s Director of Research and Development and Technology.
The new films are fully recyclable and lightweight, offering a sustainable product option for converters. BOPE-HD films are ideal for a variety of applications including meat and poultry, cheese, seafood, snack food, carton liners, baked goods, fresh produce, frozen foods, deli bags, and more.
Aurum Process Technology, a packaging company in Spain, leveraged BOPE-HD to enhance their highly efficient aseptic industrial cooking and packaging method, T-Sensation® process technology. This resulted in finished particulate food, ready meals, and pet food in fully recyclable, mono-material packaging, extending the life of plastic food packaging and diverting trash from going to landfills while reducing plastic waste.
Finding the Right Equipment
Brückner Maschinenbau, the leading supplier of production lines for manufacturing biaxially stretched films, has developed BOPE/BOPP hybrid lines that allow for increased capacity. They have already sold 18 lines across the globe which will help expand the market for BOPE-HD packaging solutions.
“Understanding the positive impact of these fully recyclable films on our industry and the environment is precisely why we have invested in a hybrid line that can satisfy the demand for BOPE-HD film”, said Diogo Barros, Technical Service and Development Manager from film manufacturer Polivouga. They are currently using one of the Brückner hybrid lines in one of their facilities.
Packaging equipment suppliers such as Effytec, who manufactures horizontal form-fill-seal pouch machinery, also support the adoption of fully recyclable films containing BOPE-HD by providing sustainable solutions to packaging companies like Aurum.
“The successful launch of these films relied on the collaborative efforts of all the players involved in bringing mono-material packaging to the consumer and store shelves, including equipment manufacturers, film converters, and product packagers,” said Owen Lightbody, Team Leader, Application Development at NOVA Chemicals.