Luxembourg-based Flint Group Packaging has been working on a project with the European CEFLEX Quality Recycling Project (QRP) to test whether recycled content can be used while maintaining the printing of PP flexible packaging.
The main goal of QRP is to create a PP recyclate structure that does not inhibit the printing and converting process of today’s supply chain. This would enable more recycled PP to be used in non-food packaging.
In particular, the project wants to ensure more PP can be recovered from households across Europe, where recycling rates are low.
Following a series of five semi-industrial trials to test the viability of printing on films made using rPP resin, results showed the use of post-consumer recyclate in the packaging structure did not inhibit the printing or converting process of a monomer PP duplex laminated barrier in non-food applications.
Flint Group sustainability officer Matthew Rowland-Jones said: “Our team was delighted to provide the water-based inks and to add its expertise to the number of businesses supporting this important CEFLEX project.
“One of the biggest challenges in sustaining long-term growth for the packaging sector is that still to this day, a large proportion of flexible packaging cannot be easily recycled. If we want to secure the future of the sector, we need to put circularity at the front and centre of our focus and continue to close the plastic loop.
“By co-developing and trialing an rPP substrate that is easy for printers and converters to work with, we are opening a more robust path for long-term growth. At the core, it’s about expanding the boundaries of what PP recyclate can achieve to prove that it’s compatible with today’s presses, converting technologies and quality demands.
“It’s a great move forward for the wider print and packaging industry. With collaboration and innovative thinking, a greater proportion of flexible packaging waste can be processed in recycling streams. We are another step further from the linear waste streams that hold the packaging industry back, and that’s something to celebrate.”
The next stage of the project will be the creation of an industrial scale QRP waste processing plant, which is anticipated to be in active commercial use in 2023.