True sustainability in the packaging industry can only be achieved with close partnerships along the entire value chain. The German Packaging Institute has recognized this approach with its Packaging Award in the category of sustainability, which has been awarded to a deinkable, recyclable pouch produced through a unique value chain collaboration between Siegwerk, ExxonMobil, Henkel, Kraus Folie and Windmöller & Hölscher.
“This submission to the German Packaging Award has achieved this in an outstanding way,” the German Packaging Institute writes on its website. “By using a highly effective printed oxygen barrier in combination with a new type of primer for delamination and de-inking, as well as an adhesive certified for recyclability for this process, a mono-PE packaging with an internal barrier and color layer has been produced to meet the highest demands.”
The award highlights the close partnership between Henkel and Siegwerk, who have worked closely together to co-develop an oxygen barrier coating solution.
“By sharing knowledge and working toward a common goal, we were able to develop an industrially validated oxygen barrier coating that enables mono-material flexible packaging for dry food products,” Tilo Quink, head of Henkel Packaging Adhesives, says. “This achievement also underscores the necessity to consider the properties of adhesives and coatings in the design phase of packaging.”
Mono-material package designs are growing in popularity as they are easy to sort, leading to cleaner recycling streams. Smithers forecasts mono-material plastic packaging film consumption to grow during 2023–28 at an annual average rate of 4.5%
However, the main challenge is creating a mono-material package that offers the same performance and functionality as its multi-material counterpart. Henkel and Siegwerk’s jointly developed single-component oxygen barrier turns mono-materials into a sustainability powerhouse by combining the functionality of multi-layer design with ease of recycling.
“When expertise and knowledge is shared, it creates benefits and innovation across the value chain. This initiative is testament to that. Siegwerk is proud to have contributed our expertise on deinking as well as towards the development of the oxygen barrier coating to make this possible,” said Dr. Ralf Leineweber, head of Global Technology Development for Siegwerk.
“This technology, which now also allows internally printed laminates to become high-quality recyclate again in material recycling, has set another milestone on the path towards a fully functioning circular economy,” the German Packaging Institute concludes in its decision.
The German Packaging Award is open to international participants and is decided by an independent panel of experts. Recipients are awarded based on the best innovations and solutions in 10 separate categories. The ceremony will take place on 13 September in Berlin.