They are pushing circular plastic packaging ahead. In a first and fantastic association for the Personal Care industry, Clariant, Siegwerk, Borealis, and Beiersdorf are connecting expertise to embark on the challenge of making recyclable consumer packaging based on 100% retrieved plastic packaging waste for cosmetics applications. The pioneering enterprise, named “Design4Circularity”, delivers innovations and understandings of the different design aspects to inspire others to pursue design for circularity principles.
The cross-industry coalition targets the triumph of genuinely circular packaging by including total life cycle thinking in each consequence step to make a new standard for the industry. Circular packaging helps reduced plastic waste, less use of new/virgin plastic material, and decreased climate influence, which are crucial challenges confronting our planet.
Richard Haldimann, Chief Technology and Sustainability Officer, Clariant, says: “This partnership was likely because all participants are committed to a circular economy, with company-wide agendas and holistic learning of the systems concerned. Attaining circularity requires a total shift in designing product packaging and packaging raw materials, assessing sortability, recycling and packaging end-of-life.”
Stefan Haep, Technology Head Brand Owner Collaboration at Siegwerk, adds: “Our enterprise is a frontrunner in uniquely considering circularity in every structure parameter, from additives to bottle material to inks, mapping enterprise competencies, possible gaps, and feasibility proof issues to open up viable, finally circular solutions.”
The task was to create a packaging solution that makes a cleaner input waste stream and discovers its way back into the loop in high-value applications. It should also permit the high-quality visuals and distinctive shapes clients associate with cosmetics packaging and brands.
The innovation means having all these factors on a colorless polyolefin bottle with 100% PCR content, full-body sleeved in a printed drinkable shrink sleeve. All materials are technically fully recyclable with the potential to be recovered and used for the same high-value application.
Stefan Rüster, the Packaging specialist from Beiersdorf, continues: “We pursue an ambitious Sustainability Agenda including the idea of fully circular help. The Design4Circularity packaging solution is ground-breaking for forthcoming cosmetics applications. Via the hard work and creative power of all coalition partners, we have combined the high design requirements of cosmetic packaging with complete circularity. We are proud of this triumph and expect this encourages our enterprise peers to follow.”
And Peter Voortmans, Global Commercial Director Consumer Product, Borealis, concludes: “Converting to a circular economy is a squad effort. Only jointly with like-minded partners can we shape an ‘ever mindful’ tomorrow. It starts with packaging design and the right sorting and recycling infrastructure, and through collaboration, we reinvent essentials for sustainable living.”
Critical design parameters were designed to be recycled repeatedly, including polymer and additive composition, material selection of sleeve and bottle, sortability and deinking of sleeve material, recyclability, and PCR quality.
To deliver packaging trash a second life, the packaging material must maintain its highest value via multiple lifecycles. Here, Borealis got its expertise in cutting-edge, transformational mechanical recycling technology by delivering high-quality PCR based on proprietary Borcycle™ M technology. Also, Clariant got expertise in the plan for recycling additive solutions to provide targeted activation to watch PCR quality and against polymer chain analysis at each recycling step. It had a suitable, high-value PCR material to repeatedly hit the high-end criteria of Personal Care-related consumer packaging. The circular solution concentrates on a colorless bottle opportunity to increase PCR quality after recycling.
To achieve differentiation of the packaging despite using an uncolored bottle, the collaboration decided on a full-body shrink sleeve as the ideal way to allow for the unique design of individual brands. Leading ink manufacturer Siegwerk was able to provide ink systems, which in collaboration with Beiersdorf and a sleeve manufacturer, allowed the printing of the sleeve to realize a full-body, colored and appealing cosmetic sleeve.
Additionally, the selected new ink composition was designed to enable deinking of the sleeve within a recycling process, increasing the circularity of the packaging. The bottle/shrink sleeve mix is intended for removal at a materials recovery facility.
First sorting trials in the existing recycling infrastructure confirmed the sortability of the full-body sleeved HDPE bottle, acquiring high recovery of the bottle’s material. Also, the project team performed trials with entire body-sleeved, transparent PET bottles and achieved similar results.
Further advances in sorting technology are required to attain the ultimate goal of circular economy to provide colorless bottles a second life back in colorless applications, including their most elevated value. Technologies such as digital watermarking or AI (artificial intelligence) could assist attain sustainability goals.