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Sustainability
15.11.2021
Latest News Insights / Blog

Lidding films that meet the REDcycle recycling challenges

REDcycle is an Australian program allowing consumers to use collection bins at participating supermarkets and national drop-off locations to return plastic bags and flexible soft packaging for recycling, keeping them out of landfill.

The program has gone some way to help solve the problem of soft plastic packaging currently not being accepted in kerbside collections.

The material collected through REDcycle is effectively down-cycled. Unfortunately, the recovered materials cannot be used to make new food packaging. However, it is used to manufacture new products like traffic cones, park benches, and plant pots.

REDcycle has recently gained a further boost by becoming an operating arm of iQ Renew, a recycler specialising in a pioneering approach to processing and an early supporter of advanced recycling technology.

As a proud member of APCO and a REDcycle partner, KM Packaging has been able to verify lidding films from our range as suitable for REDcycle. To achieve this we have to meet various criteria as defined by the APCO Packaging Recyclability Evaluation Portal (PREP) tool.

Two key criteria for determining recyclability

There are two key criteria in determining whether a packaging film can be recyclable through REDcycle:

  1. 100% polyolefin materials as mono or laminates, for example. PE and/or PP.

Or,

  1. Laminates of mixed polymers where polyolefin content is >70% by structure weight.

Practical challenges for tray lidding film applications

However, some practical challenges for tray lidding film applications also need to be considered. And we overcame them in various ways, including:

  • Providing a high degree of heat resistance on the outside, so the lid sticks to the tray and not the seal head.
  • Developing a lacquer that we coat on BOPP to allow it to seal.
  • Offering PE grades that seal to APET, CPET, PP, aluminium, and pulp trays.

In the future, it's likely that chemical recycling will create a more sustainable end-of-life solution for all flexible packaging, as it converts mixed plastic back into oil, to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. However, the technology is currently in its infancy and will take some years to scale up.

Meanwhile, we are continuing to hone our existing products and design new ones to meet REDcycle's requirements and its aim "to develop a smooth-running circular system for post-consumer soft plastics; robustly linking the community's desire to divert recyclable materials from landfill with the technology and infrastructure needed to deliver measurable outcomes".

Here is a summary of REDcycle approved lidding films we offer by tray type:

APET / RPET (and PET lined pulp/paperboard) tray

Cold peelable film suitable for chilled applications. Low, medium and high barrier options available.

  • Chilled only.
  • Cold peel.
  • Low, medium and high barrier available.
  • Not suitable for microwave or oven cooking.
  • No antifog.

PP tray

Hot or cold peelable film with antifog for frozen and chilled applications. Suitable for microwave heating and available with medium or high barrier.

  • Chilled or frozen.
  • Antifog.
  • Hot or cold peel.
  • Microwavable.
  • Medium and high barrier available.

PULP (uncoated/lined) tray

Hot or cold peelable film with antifog for frozen and chilled applications. Suitable for microwave heating and available with medium or high barrier.

  • Chilled or frozen.
  • Antifog.
  • Hot or cold peel.
  • Microwavable.
  • Medium and high barrier available.

ALUMINIUM (uncoated smoothwall) tray

Hot or cold peelable, high barrier film with antifog suitable for chilled and frozen applications. Suitable for microwave heating and available with medium or high barrier.

  • Chilled or frozen.
  • Antifog.
  • Hot or cold peel.
  • Medium and high barrier available.

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