Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 23

packaging
safe side. Now that we can offer
a recyclate that is approved for
cosmetic applications makes
the discussion easier. "

APK's Newcycling facility
in Merseburg, Germany

Making it official
Huhtamaki has now successfully produced a plastic barrier laminate (PBL) with a total
thickness of 300 microns for the
production of laminated tubes
containing 19% LDPE recyclate
material produced by APK.
" This is, of course, only the
beginning, " said Settele. " Late
last December, we received
official RecyClass approvals
for three of our tube laminate
structures, including our standard PBL 300 micron total
thickness, the laminate which
was the basis for the development together with APK. This
positive approval led to the decision to proceed to the second
certification round, in which the
PBL made with post-industrial
recyclate from APK will be assessed. Once we obtain RecyClass approval for that, we will
have taken another big step
forward: we will be able to integrate recycled content into
an officially certified recyclable
flexible packaging. "
Huhtamaki is confident that
approval will be obtained as the
original structure and the structure containing the recycled
material from APK are identical
in terms of functionality.
" The only difference with the
standard PBL is that we have
replaced the outer PE film layer
with a PE film layer containing
post-industrial recyclate, " explained Settele.
Brand owners cannot afford
to run any risk, added Riedl.
Many are just now starting their
first projects with recycled polyolefins. " They have far more experience in this area with PET,
which they have been using for
several years and where there is
a clean bottle stream available,
but especially for LDPE, the first
commercial projects are only
just coming on the market. "
What about the demand for
mono-material structures - is
that an issue that Huhtamaki
has run up against?
Settele: " The big discussion
is, what is a mono-material
structure? Most product applications still need a barrier layer.

Our standard PLB 300 has 15
microns of EVOH; but having
obtained RecyClass approval
for this tube, we have now the
official certificate that these 15
microns of EVOH do not disturb
the HDPE recycling process. "
The RecyClass test was a
rigorous one, he said, which
involved putting 10-20 kg of
ready-made tubes - laminate
with shoulder, cap and print
- through a realistic existing
HDPE recycling process. Afterwards, new products were
produced from the recyclate
derived from the recycled tubes.
In other words, the tests examined both whether the tubes
disturbed the recycling process and whether HDPE bottles
could be produced from the
resins produced.
" So this was different from
various other recycling certificates - also available on
the market - which only conduct theoretical assessments, "
Settele pointed out.
" We are proud to have been
granted them, because they
might be the most complicated
ones to achieve. "

What's next?
One of the next big goals for
APK will be to use its technology to process post-consumer, as well as post-industrial,
waste. Plans for a second plant,
which will use 100% post-consumer waste, are currently already in the basic engineering
phase. This plant will be built
at an undisclosed location -
'somewhere in Europe' - and is

expected to come online in the
next few years.
To bridge the gap between
now and when the new plant
goes live, APK is working on a
compound solution that is a mix
of post-industrial and post-consumer based recyclate. There
is a clearly felt demand from
the market for post-consumer
recycled material, which APK
is anxious to supply with 'high
quality, close to virgin' resin, especially as more competition is
starting to enter the market.
The new factory, although
based on the same patents and
the same technology, will differ
in a number of important respects from APK's existing plant.
" One big development in the
second plant will be that we
will move from a separation
process more to an extraction
and purification process. Unlike PIR, which is a clean
waste stream, post-consumer
streams contain contaminated
printed and non-printed waste
mixed together. Using an extraction and purification process will enable us to extract
colour pigments, inks and other additives, " said Riedl.
He added that a pre-cleaning
step would also be part of the
process. Post-consumer waste
is full of organics, paper and
other things, making pre-washing and pre-cleaning essential.
APK will use a hot washing process, rather than the cold wash
used by mechanical recyclers
today.
The plant itself will have a capacity of around 20,000 t/a in
order to meet market demand.

" We knew three years ago,
when we were building our existing plant, that a second plant
would follow, and that this second plant would, from the start,
process post-consumer waste, "
said Riedl.
Looking ahead, given the
technological
developments,
and in view of research and development efforts, APK is hopeful of obtaining approval for
food contact applications in the
mid-term. For its PCR products,
this could be by 2025 , shortly
after the new post-consumer
waste plant has come online.
Food contact approval for recyclates derived from post-industrial waste sources could well
be obtained even before 2025.
As Riedl emphasised: " This is
our journey and we appreciate
very much the opportunity to
'travel' together with Huhtamaki and other strong partners
from all over the value chain
to achieve true circularity for
a growing number of plastic
packaging segments. "
Also for Huhtamaki, the development of tube laminates
incorporating recycled material is only the start. Ultimately, the company aims to integrate recycled content into all
the flexible packaging in their
portfolio, as well as to increase
the percentage of recycled
content used.
The company is currently focussing this development on
two market segments. The first
is cosmetics, the second, industrial applications. " Oral care is
another very interesting field,
but this will be developed at a
later stage due to current challenges in matching regulatory
requirements, " said Settele.
He continued: " What we see
as really important is the need
for regular and comprehensive
flow of communication between
all the parties involved. This will
be crucial in overcoming the remaining challenges. In the past,
there were often steps involved
between us and the brand owners. Today, it is very important to
have good communication lines
from the resin suppliers all the
way to the end customers; that
all involved parties are speaking
the same language and know
what is going on in the market.
We are all working towards the
same goal. "

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Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021

Contents
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - Cover1
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - Cover2
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - Contents
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 4
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 5
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 6
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 7
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 8
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 9
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 10
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 11
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 12
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 13
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 14
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 15
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 16
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 17
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 18
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 19
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 20
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 21
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 22
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 23
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 24
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 25
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 26
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 27
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 28
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 29
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 30
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 31
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 32
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 33
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - 34
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - Cover3
Sustainable Plastics - January/February 2021 - Cover4
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