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Mono lidding film makes a singularly strong contribution to recyclability

Mono means "alone", "single", or "one", and mono material alone can make the single greatest contribution to packaging recyclability than any one other factor.

Packaging News (PKN) in Australia invited us to collaborate on this article on the topic, which was recently published in their Sep/Oct edition (see Page 34).

Mono removes the challenges presented by multi-polymer laminates in packaging, which are difficult to separate for recycling and, therefore, most often end up in landfill.

In addition, the recycling of mono material packaging is more efficient. It is easier to collect and sort, and the process uses less energy, reducing C02 emissions.

It's no wonder the top recommendation from Liz Morrish, of the European CEFLEX initiative, is to "redesign towards a mono material wherever possible”.

Moving to mono is a shift in most major markets. For example, the Australian Packaging Pact (APCO) has advised that brand owners and manufacturers should move toward mono polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) polymers.

Specific to PET, APCO has said in its Designing for Recyclability guide that the key barriers to PET recycling are the use of different polymers or materials with PET which cannot be easily separated.

Its advice is to use mono materials and lightweight where possible. PET lidding films that remain tethered to an rPET or APET tray are suitable for kerbside recycling.

Suppliers are responding to the calls to increase the usage of mono materials. For example, our products include resource-efficient, mono structure lidding films that can replace traditional thicker mixed polymer coex and laminates for the fresh protein sector.

Essential for this sector, KM’s products have high barrier properties that traditionally were only achieved using multi-layer, multi-polymer laminates.

These lidding films from our K-Seal and K-Peel ranges include both PP and PET mono material solutions and provide:

  • 100% recyclability.
  • High barriers.
  • Transparency.
  • Anti-fogging.
  • Cold peel options.

Flexible packaging can also be an enabler for other components of the pack to be recyclable. For example, KM’s K-Seal 715 V AF 25 can remain tethered to a rPET tray and be deemed recyclable kerbside in Australia.

We also have K-Peel MLS V AF, a mono PP laminate with barrier, which would be REDCycle approved and provide a cold peel solution for PP trays.

This compatibility allows the food processor or manufacturer to use a recyclable mono material tray, and the whole pack (tray and lid) can be of the same mono material.

John Shipley, KM’s Business Unit Director for Australia and Europe, said: "Many manufacturers within the protein sector face the problem of 'How can we move to more mono materials to avoid using multi-layer trays and films’?

"The sustainability of packaging solutions to protect, present, and preserve foodstuffs is a key consideration.

"Offering excellent seals to PET and PP trays, our films have exceptional clarity, anti-mist, and an effective barrier, performing in the same way as existing films, while providing a packaging solution that is 100% designed for recycling."

Our solutions are an excellent example of how mono material is already making a singularly strong contribution to packaging recyclability in the global marketplace.

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