Research shows that consumers are now making purchasing decisions based on ethics and/or sustainability, which is impacting, among other aspects, packaging design. Food & Beverage Industry News reports.
As the 2025 National Packaging Targets get ever closer, the move towards sustainable flexible packaging continues to intensify.
Favourite Packaging, a company that specialises in food, pet food, and industrial flexible packaging, through their membership of APCO, has cooperatively sourced and now released new recyclable flexible packaging options, including Recyclable Pouches.
Favourite Packaging’s Pouches, over the last decade, have become more and more popular for a wide variety of foods, perishables, coffee, powders, liquids, and pet foods and now Favourite Packaging can supply a recyclable option that have the same or improved features.
Favourite Packaging managing director Justin Yates said these innovative Pouches finally provide the right protection to preserve shelf life and meet the criteria for recyclable flexible packaging while contributing to improving your brand image.
“Our aim was to come up with something that fits in with the 2025 National Packaging Targets while meeting the technical requirements for food and perishables,” said Yates.
“The big thing was getting away from packaging using PET for its barrier. That’s been the go-to material for many years, and it has been easy to work with but not feasible to recycle.”
“We had to come up with something else that was a mono-polymer and fit in with APCO guidelines which would then allow it to be considered recyclable in the new guidelines.”
Favourite Packaging has worked diligently to come up with its newest packaging offering, and it being in time for customers to adopt it before the 2025 National Packaging Targets is a bonus.
As has been well documented, recyclable packaging for food and perishables is a challenge because freshness and shelf life depend on the packaging that has the appropriate inner layers of materials as an oxygen barrier and these traditional barrier materials prevent the packaging from being recyclable.
“It’s now at the point where we can get as good a barrier if not better, than a standard PET while removing the difficulties around trying to recycle it,” said Yates.
“It’s a mono-material with two layers so you still get the trap print to protect from scuffing on the outside of the pack.
While it is two layers, it is still a mono-structure with the same shelf life as the PET it replaces.
The Guidelines state that for a pouch to be considered recyclable it must be produced using an approved single material structure, a mono type of plastic.
“For example, when you have two of three materials of a different melt flow, it makes it difficult or unfeasible to turn it back into something that is usable,” said Yates.
“Whereas if it’s kept to less materials in the soft plastic, it is much easier to recycle. We have been recycling soft plastic for over fifty years and its only difficult when there are so many laminated varieties.”
And as demand for more recycling packaging grows from consumers, government and industry, the demand for this single material structure will also grow significantly and so will the requirement for more recycling capacity.
According to APCO, the Supermarkets and the Australian Food and Grocery Council, there is a significant effort in 2023 to increase the downstream capacity (collection and processing) of soft plastics recycling.
“And a lot of the capacity coming later in the year is designed to work off the mono-structure material,” said Yates.
“This too will reinforce the push to mono-structured materials.
Yates said that Favourite Packaging anticipates an even greater focus on recyclable soft plastics throughout 2023 and 2024 and that Australia is following a lot of leads from Europe in downstream recycling processes and all the signs are showing that capacity in Australia is being accelerated in areas such as kerb side or in-store collection as well as soft plastics re-purposing technology.
A bonus for changing to these recyclable pouches is that the carbon footprint of your packaging can be reduced around 60 per cent, with the reduction trickling down the entire recycling process.
Favourite Packaging can customise the recyclable pouch into all styles, including stand up and flat bottom and offer both regular and high barrier versions and apply customised design and full colour printing, including adding an ARL or customised insignia to indicate the packaging is recyclable.
On top of this, mono-plastic recyclable pouches are being used more and more for coffee packaging, supplement packaging, a variety of foods, and even spout pouches for beverages.
Yates said research continued to show a growing trend in consumer demand based on environmental factors, including the circular economy around food and beverage packaging.
Relevant to this, consumers can discard the Favourite Packaging pouches through recycling processes, where they can be collected and enter a waste management flow to be reborn as raw material for a different application, thus contributing to the circular economy.
Recycling programs, such as ‘return to store’, is expected to resume, and ‘curb side pick-up, will continue to expand on the back of the growing demand for an improved circular economy.
Meaning a transition to a mono- structured packaging product like those provided by Favourite Packaging presents an opportunity to capitalise on the growing demand by consumers and the industry changes around recycling soft plastics.