Global packaging company Huhtamaki has redefined the possible by using science to develop new mono-material flexible packaging technology, delivering recyclability without compromising on product protection or affordability.
In 2020, Huhtamaki set itself the target of making its packaging 100 per cent recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2030. Many food and essential product companies have set similar pledges.
While today much of Huhtamaki’s packaging can already be recycled (70 per cent), an area of the technical challenge has been lightweight flexible packaging. It reduces transport emissions, prevents food waste and supports affordability. However, it is typically not recyclable in today’s post-consumer recovery streams.
Huhtamaki president of flexible packaging Dr Marco Hiltyat said, “What we’ve done, quite simply, is to redesign the future of flexible packaging by setting new industry standards in mono-material solutions.
“These blueloop innovations are both unique to Huhtamaki and transformational. They simultaneously deliver recyclability with no compromise in either product protection or affordability. This is the power of three.
“These at-scale innovations will support our customers in reaching the commitments many of them have made, including to use only recyclable, compostable or reusable packaging by 2025 and align with the direction of future policy, both in the EU and globally.
“Our innovations ensure flexible packaging affordability – especially important to consumers across the world, and they provide the high level of product protection for food and household essentials that flexible packaging is known for.
“Our teams across the world have worked together, tirelessly, to make what was once thought impossible, possible. We have simplified previously complex structures using fewer materials and without needing an aluminium layer or other barriers with different materials. This breakthrough will therefore increase the value of post-consumer material, providing a greater economic incentive for recycling and supporting circularity.”
According to Huhtamaki, what makes these innovations unique and transformative is the combination of the highest percentage of mono-material in the market today and the fact that this is delivered without any compromise on either product protection or affordability. By increasing the percentage of mono-material, the technical and economic viability of recycling is increased.
Huhtamaki’s innovation provides mono-material flexible packaging in three alternative material solutions: paper, PE (polyethylene) and PP (polypropylene) Retort, fit for the most demanding applications.
With a mono-material share of up to 95 per cent for PE and at least 90 per cent for paper and PP, there is no compromise in protection barriers, recyclability and affordability.
The amount of material used has been minimised for increased resource efficiency. Huhtamaki has invested in new production technologies, building a global supply capacity for the latest innovations.