Three sustainable plastic solutions were among the innovations on display at K 2019, the world’s biggest trade show for the plastics industry.
KHS displayed wide-neck PET containers suitable for the hot filling of food with a low carbon footprint; chemical and consumer goods company Henkel collaborated with packaging manufacturer Alpla to create its first bottles made from chemically recycled plastic; and Dow, brand owner Reckitt Benckiser (RB), and converter Drukpol.Flexo developed a recyclable stand-up pouch for Finish dishwashing tablets.
The new wide-neck PET containers from KHS featured a low weight and good recycling properties, reducing carbon footprint throughout the life cycle, the company said.
According to Sebastian Wenderdel, non-beverage global product account manager at KHS Corpoplast in Hamburg, Germany, saving carbon dioxide is important for food companies both in packaging design and supply chain organisation.
“It’s our aim to not only reduce our customers’ carbon footprint but also increase production reliability. Individually designed, lightweight containers also improve the consumer experience,” he said.
Wenderdel added that KHS consciously chose PET instead of glass for its new wide-neck containers due to safety and environmental concerns.
“At the moment most wide-neck containers are still made of non-returnable glass. PET containers have many advantages over glass, however, and not just as far as costs are concerned.
“PET preforms aren’t just much lighter than glass containers; they’re also smaller, which means that they take up less space during transportation and storage,” he said.
Henkel exhibited chemically-recycled bottles of Perwoll laundry detergent as part of the ChemCycling project led by chemical company BASF. The process involves using thermo-chemical methods to turn plastic into pyrolysis oil, which is used as feedstock for the chemical industry to produce new plastic products with the same quality as virgin plastic.
According to Dr Thorsten Leopold, head of international packaging development for Home Care at Henkel, there is huge potential for chemical recycling to complement traditional mechanical recycling.
“Mechanical recycling is limited by the fact that not all plastic waste can be reprocessed into useable material. Thanks to chemical recycling, fossil resources can be replaced with recycled material made from plastic waste.
“This project is an important additional step towards creating a circular economy for plastic – on this basis we are evaluating further opportunities for integrating chemically recycled plastic in our product packaging,” he said.
Also on show was a new resealable Finish dishwashing tablet pouch from Dow, RB, and Drukpol.Flexo, which was designed for recyclability and end-of-life disposal into existing recycling streams.
Krzysztof Krajewski, head of Packaging Innovation at RB, said the three companies worked together to create a mono-material, PE-films-based pack that could be produced on existing equipment and incorporate features such as zippers and easy opening, with the right mix of stiffness and flexibility.
“RB is committed to reducing, reusing and recycling materials in our packaging. We constantly search for solutions to address plastic waste and believe that plastic packaging designed for recyclability is the way forward.
“With this innovative mono-material pouch, we are able to offer consumers easy to use packaging with enhanced features. Our new packaging is supported by existing recycling waste management systems and because the packing is lighter in weight, we are also able to reduce transportation costs and emissions,” said Krajewski.
K 2019 ran from 16 to 23 October, with the next exhibition to take place in 2022.