While discussing the EVOH seminar with a new flexible packaging converter who wants to build a sustainable packaging plant, we were informed that another option for sustainable barrier structures is to use a water-based coating from Michelman. The company’s innovation center near the airport in Mumbai, which contains a coater and barrier testing equipment, is being used extensively by film manufacturers and flexible packaging converters to develop and test recyclable single polymer laminate structures.
Several trials since January 2023 have taken place for the development of single polymer structures with barrier properties provided by Michelman water-based coatings. Recyclable mono-material solutions for edible oil pouches have been developed with an oxygen barrier that matches or exceeds current structures in use.
The possible structures include a solution comprising a PE layer, a sandwiched layer of Michelman’s O2 barrier coating, and the top layer of ink for decoration and overprint varnish. The second recyclable monomaterial structure is a two-ply solution comprising two PE layers with a sandwiched Michelman O2 barrier coating between them and a top layer of ink and overprint varnish.
It is claimed that this is a more economical single polymer with a barrier recyclable solution because it does away with both the tie-layers that are required when using either nylon or EVOH for barrier properties. The recyclable structural developments with barrier properties are extremely interesting given that the clock has started ticking, not just for CEFLEX compliance but also for Indian Plastic Waste Management Rules about Extended User Responsibility spelled in February 2022 and reaffirmed with minor amendments in July 2022.
There are increasing financial penalties in each year from 2022 onward for non-compliance up to 2027-28 in which 60% to 80% recycling is specified for each of the four categories of materials. The PWM rules apply to several categories of users including brand owners, plastic producers packaging converters, and importers.