The Dow Chemical Company 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.
Created through collaboration with the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) and other industry members, Dow’s RecycleReady Technology helps converters create barrier pouches that answer consumer demand for more recyclable packaging options. It’s a major advancement that enables the recycling of packaging for products like 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,” says Stacy Fields, North America director, Packaging Solutions for Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics.
The standup pouch made with RETAIN polymer modifiers is 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 offers a recyclable solution with enhanced barrier characteristics.
Before this innovation, flexible barrier packaging posed unique recycling challenges due to the variety of materials generally used as part of its makeup. With the introduction of RecycleReady Technology, converters will now have the ability to produce recyclable packaging with ingredients that ensure barrier protection, along with stiffness, toughness and sealability of the package. These recyclable flexible pouches incorporate multiple layers, but use only polyethylene as the basic raw material.
RecycleReady Technology in North America has 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.
"This technology is a breakthrough in packaging design for recyclability. It possesses the properties of a multi-layer pouch, but behaves like a pure polyethylene bag in the recycling stream. We are very excited," says Kelly Cramer, Sustainable Packaging Coalition project manager.
The technology aims to divert packaging waste from landfill or incineration, increase post-consumer recycling yields and aid the creation of a circular economy for plastics packaging.