Good Human Club

Let’s get this thing right!

Packaging Insights

Tackling aluminum lidding pollution: Nextek partners with MCC Label on mono PP solution

#Tackling aluminum lidding pollution: Nextek partners with MCC Label on mono PP solution

13 Mar 2024 — Nextek is partnering with Belgium-based MCC Label to tackle the issue of aluminum pollution on F&B liddings. The duo will replace traditional aluminum lids with monomaterial PP solution named SealPPeel, which requires no lacquer. The design eases sortation and recycling processes and gives a new branding design to packagers.

Stijn Quintyn, business development manager at MCC Label, tells Packaging Insights the issue with aluminum lidding on packages like yogurt pots is twofold.

“First of all, very often, the aluminum seal is still attached to the plastic container, or if the aluminum seal has been torn off, there can still be remnants of aluminum particles on the seal edge. The leftover aluminum complicates the sorting process as residuals influence the Eddy Current separator and near-infrared spectroscopy (NIR) signal,” he says.

Because of this, a lot of valuable recyclable PP tubs end up in the residue stream, where they are either incinerated or landfilled instead of being recycled.

By using full mono PP packaging, such as the combination of a PP container with SealPPeel, a 14% higher yield is achieved during the sorting phase, he explains.

arrow

Many yogurt pots with aluminum lidding can disrupt recycling processes.“Secondly, if aluminum residuals do pass the NIR, they have a detrimental effect on both the recycling infrastructure (clogging melt filters) and potentially on the quality of the rPP. In conclusion, monomaterial benefits both the sorting and recycling process,” asserts Quintyn.

The SealPPeel solution
To resolve the aluminum residue issue, MCC Label turned to rPP specialist Nextek and developed a PP heat-sealable lidding solution that doesn’t require any heat-seal lacquer.

“This optimizes both sortability and recyclability and provides consumers with an optimized experience and superior graphic quality for brands,” continues Quintyn.

During one of our members’ meetings, the challenge with aluminum residues was identified as one of the key roadblocks to simplifying recycling and closing the loop on food-grade rPP.

Ed Kosior, founder and CEO of Nextek, tells us he sees SealPPeel as “an ideal solution to the challenge of aluminum lids.”

“It was during one of the Nextloopp trials last year that the team found fragments of aluminum foil present in the otherwise clean rPP recyclates. On further investigation, they found that even the smallest remnants of foil on the likes of yogurt pots disrupted the melt filtration of the recyclates by blocking melt filters, which effectively stopped the extrusion recycling process,” he explains.

“This highlights the need to revise key elements in the packaging design guidelines. Nextloopp has been focusing on adhesives, inks and pigments, but the trials demonstrated yet another issue with the foil lids.”

Kosior says the SealPPeel solution solves three major issues in one step — by making the entire pot and lid from mono PP, recycling is drastically simplified, yield is increased, and the visual result of the pack looks even more cohesive and striking.

Major brands and regulatory shifts
Quintyn says MCC Label joined the Nextloopp project, which works toward bringing mono PP to market worldwide, “as it wants to bring solutions for circularity to market and was immediately eager to create awareness of this recent development.”

“Change is always difficult to implement, and we, of course, understand that change is often associated with risk.”

“Now that the first projects are hitting the shelves. We do see a peak in interest, and even more brand owners are considering switching to monomaterial PP packaging. Upcoming regulatory changes might give that last final push to make the shift happen.”

By Louis Gore-Langton

To contact our editorial team please email us at
editorial@cnsmedia.com

If you found this article valuable, you may wish to receive our newsletters.
Subscribe now to receive the latest news directly into your inbox.

# Good Human Club

LEAVE A RESPONSE

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *