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Kuraray Launches Bio-based High-barrier Resin for Pouches & Cartons

Kuraray America, Inc. (Kuraray America), a provider of performance-based polymers and special materials technology, announces a new grade of PLANTIC™, the company’s sustainable, high-performance barrier material.
A plant-based resin designed specifically for converters who perform extrusion coating, PLANTIC™ EP can be used to develop sustainable gas and aroma-barrier solutions with paper, paperboard, or traditional film substrates.
Repulping & Recyclability Certification
The new resin grade recently passed repulping and recyclability certification from Western Michigan University (WMU), laying the groundwork for sustainable barrier pouch and carton formats for brand owners and converters. With PLANTIC™ EP, the market now has a high-barrier option that can be fully recoverable and recyclable in the U.S. paper stream.
Companies recognize the need for packaging to assure product integrity and shelf life, while consumers don’t want to buy products which add to landfills. We noticed a gap in the market and need for a sustainable material that could be used to produce high-barrier pouches and cartons and knew PLANTIC™ EP could be a game-changer,” said Tom Black with Kuraray’s Plantic division.
The new resin grade not only complements our customers’ and retailers’ dynamic range of products, but with recyclable certification from Western Michigan University, it helps brands achieve their sustainability objectives, enabling us all to leave behind a better world for our children,” continued Black.
Derived from starch, PLANTIC™ is the world’s most advanced bio-based plastic. It can be used in both recycle-ready and compostable formats while providing renewable, plant-based content and excellent gas-barrier performance to extend shelf life. It can dramatically reduce the environmental impacts produced by traditional packaging materials while providing the opportunity for materials once considered not recyclable to be reusable.
In designing a high-barrier pouch for recyclability, Kuraray extrusion coated PLANTIC™ EP to kraft paper and capped it with a tie and heat seal layer with resin from Westlake Polyethylene. When used within a multilayer film, PLANTIC™ EP helps create a high-barrier, flexible pouch or carton, allowing other layers in the structure to be separated, recovered, and potentially recycled or composted.
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Collaboration for Application Development Resources
Our collaboration with Kuraray utilized our application development resources to the fullest to create a truly unique offering in the market,” said Amy Moore, vice president, Westlake Polyethylene. “We understand Kuraray’s technology and look forward to working together on further developments as they commercialize the offering across the bandwidth of market segments and categories.
Kuraray recognized the need for brand owners to certify packaging sustainability. It submitted its PLANTIC™ EP/ Westlake paper-coated pouch to WMU to determine its repulpability and recyclability. During the repulping process, all of the PLANTIC™ EP resin rinsed out. Therefore, in October 2022, WMU certified the PLANTIC™ EP/ Westlake pouch as recyclable.
Recognizing the recyclability certification from WMU is a big first step in securing a How2Recycle claim,” added Black. “When developing packaging formats for brand owners, converters want to see that products have first been vetted by WMU. Its certification allows converters to apply for a pre-qualification letter from How2Recycle, effectively fast-tracking adoption of PLANTIC™ EP-based, high-barrier solutions.
PLANTIC™ EP is currently available for trial and commercially in use with several brands around the world. Targeted applications include pouches and cartons for coffee, pet food, dry mixes, and more.
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Source: Kuraray

Publication date: 14/04/2023

Omnexus (news)


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.