SABIC, a worldwide leader in the chemicals industry, published that the company has been cooperating with Unilever and Greiner Packaging to make an innovative new Knorr® bouillon container utilizing SABIC® PP FLOWPACT FPC45 certified circular impact polypropylene (PP) from its TRUCIRCLE™ portfolio.
The new SABIC PPcertified circular polymer grade is a phthalate-free product and compliant with several EU food contact regulations. It is a drop-in solution that can substitute fossil-based plastics in the packaging industry without jeopardizing product purity and food protection.
The new material also gives excellent flowability for ease processing on conventional injection molding equipment and robust performance for high stackability. Greiner Packaging creates the pack with lids molded in a similar material and provides them with folded cardboard sleeves.
The space-saving, stackable configuration design of the boxes and lids further supports their sustainability through transport and storage before filling.
SABIC’s certified PP polymers are offered through the feedstock recycling of used and mixed plastic that could contrarily be destined for incineration or landfill.
Challenging to recycle used plastic is broken down and brought back to the molecular level by heating it at high heat in an oxygen-free environment, creating pyrolysis oil. The pyrolysis oil then enrolls SABIC’s production chain, just like fossil-based feedstock, to deliver new materials in compliance with strict quality requirements, such as the European food contact safety standards for food packaging.
The resulting polymers’ sustainability is certified by independent third-party laboratories under the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC PLUS) scheme in a standardized mass balance approach, which supports the recycled material content along with predefined and transparent rules. The widely recognized ISCC PLUS accreditation provides traceability along the entire supply chain, from the feedstock to the final product.
“We are very excited about participating in this joint pilot project with Unilever and Greiner Packaging,” comments Sergi Monros, Vice President of Performance Polymers & Industry Solutions for Petrochemicals at SABIC.
“With our TRUCIRCLE initiative and portfolio, we aim to bring commercially viable and more sustainable packaging solutions to the market and drive the transition of the plastics industry to a truly circular economy. Partnerships with major players across the value chain help address the technical and commercial challenges along this path and meet the increasing demands of end-users and consumers for environmentally conscious packaging with less waste and less resource depletion,” Monros emphasizes and concludes: “Unilever’s Knorr® container is an excellent example of this ambitious strategy.”
The appearance, functionality, and safety of the new Knorr® bouillon powder packaging are the same as before, and the quality is likewise as high as ever. Consumers can still remove the plastic container’s cardboard sleeve once it is empty before disposing and recycling the two components as usual.
“By producing some of the containers from certified circular polypropylene, we want to set a new standard on the market together with our partners and demonstrate what is possible with recycled materials in the food segment. We also want to keep pushing forward with this development. Here at Greiner Packaging, we are not only focusing on certified recycled PP – we are also working on our first projects and tests with mechanically recycled PS,” explains Jens Krause, Sales Director at the Swiss Greiner Packaging site in Diepoldsau.
“Our goal is to continue making our packaging more environmentally conscious together with partners like SABIC and Greiner Packaging – especially in the food segment – without consumers having to lower their standards in terms of design, performance, user-friendliness, stability, and food safety. Unilever is committed to cutting our use of virgin plastic in half by 2025. Turning Plastic Waste into Circular Polymer will be a key enabler in meeting that goal. We are now testing this using material produced from 100 percent certified circular polymer to expand across our portfolio by 2025,” says Mike Ross, Senior Packaging Manager at Unilever.