ILMA Compoundings - April 2020 - 22

BP, which makes an essential ingredient for plastic, has
plans to open a $25 million pilot plant in Illinois next year.
The American Chemistry Council report Economic Impact
of Advanced Plastics Recycling and Recovery Facilities in the
U.S. found that widely adopted, the processes could produce
nearly $10 billion in economic impact. "With plastics makers in the U.S., Canada and Europe committed to the goal of
recycling or recovering all plastic packaging in these regions
by 2040, chemical recycling is expected to play a crucial role
in meeting these goals," Riley said.
Christman said there are some learning curves involved
with chemical recycling, and companies are working
through that right now. "Our information is it is cost-effective," he said.
In addition to increased interest in sustainability, the
availability of plastics is driving interest in recycling
techniques. China had dominated the market for decades
for recycling plastic scrap but has been limiting imports,
Christman said. "What was a challenge has become an
opportunity," he explained.

Egle said the predominant bottle shapes tend to stay
pretty similar. "There are a handful of shapes and designs
you see over and over again. They'll find ways to customize
them with the way they are labeled or the type of closure
they use," he said, adding that he has seen more brands use a
combination of matte and gloss finishes on labels.
When brands do want to differentiate themselves, they are
changing the shape of the bottle slightly, Vincent said.
However, both Vincent and Egle said customers' top
concern tends to be cost.

Packaging Innovations

The plastic used in rigid bottles has been high-density
polyethylene for quite some time, but there are advances
in that, Christman said. "There have been advances in how
efficiently they make the resins of the raw material. They're
always working to improve their package, reduce their
material use and improve sustainability," he said.
Dillon Vincent, national account executive at Crystal
Packaging, said he is also starting to see more post-consumer
recycled plastic used in bottles.
He has also seen customers use new resins for containers.
"They're using a sugar cane resin where it has less plastic in
the bottle itself. The look and feel aren't any different, but
it is more recyclable," he said. "It is something that is easy
to work with, and we're seeing more of it. It can come in
different colors, but it can't be clear."
In the household space, Vincent said Crystal Packaging
is seeing more and more customers marketing natural or
organic products. As a result, customers want to make sure
everything on the bottle, including the label, is recyclable.
"They're trying to push that their product is green. That is
going to change the packaging," he said, adding that he has
seen more PET bottles come into customers' realms. "Some
customers like it because it is becoming easier and easier
to recycle."
Vincent said he has seen an increase in more concentrated
products sold on the chemical side. "It is taking the water
out and increasing the active ingredient content," he said.
"That container lasts you longer, and you're not going
through bottles as fast."

22

APRIL 2020

| COMPOUNDINGS | ILMA.ORG

Flexible Pouches

There are innovations happening on containers, Christman
said. "In addition to the traditional rigid bottles, we're seeing more flexible packaging for oils and lubricants," he said,
adding that he recently purchased a pouch of motor oil. "It
is giving companies more options."
Brunnbauer said some companies are switching to flexible
packaging to increase shelf impact and market share.
"Switching from a rigid PET plastic bottle to a flexible
pouch provides great surface area for printing/branding, uses
less plastic and has a higher product-to-packaging ratio,"
he said, explaining that stand-up pouches provide approximately seven times more printed surface area to display
graphics compared to labels on bottles.
Stand-up pouches for oils and lubricants can provide
added convenience and portability, as spouts and handles
can be incorporated into the packaging for easy carrying and
pouring, Brunnbauer said.
Even though the packaging is flexible, Brunnbauer said
Glenroy's stand-up pouches pass rigorous burst testing and
drop testing to ensure excellent seal strength.
Brunnbauer said compared to a rigid plastic oil bottle,
a flexible pouch requires less energy, generates less carbon
dioxide emissions during production, results in a higher
product-to-package ratio and requires fewer trucks for transportation. The pouches can also be lighter when compared


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ILMA Compoundings - April 2020

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