Driven by a shared vision of sustainability and strong collaboration, DSM, Sabic, Cepsa, Fibrant, and Viscofan have created a multi-barrier casing for meat products made via advanced recycling post-consumer plastics. The transition towards recycled-based multi-layer films enables the packaging industry to adopt a more sustainable solution without compromising functional performance. The development of this packaging material underlines a strong commitment to enabling a circular economy by working together with partners throughout the value chain and addresses the increasing consumer, societal and regulatory demand for more sustainable multi-layer barrier casing solutions.
Produced by Viscofan, the newly developed sustainable casing claims to consist of several layers of different polymers. DSM Engineering Materials supplies the high-performance certified circular polyamide (PA) Akulon CRC-MB, and Sabic supplies the high-performance certified circular polyethylene (PE)* from its Trucircle portfolio of circular solutions. Both products are based on used and post-consumer plastics, which would otherwise be discarded as landfill or lost to incineration. Using advanced recycling, the used plastic is converted into new feedstock, which then enters the production chain to deliver new virgin-quality materials.
Jason Zhang, vice president – Business Lines Performance Polymers at DSM Engineering Materials, said, “By introducing Akulon CRC-MB, DSM is taking an exciting next step in its sustainability journey. The co-development of a recycled-based film for packaging applications underlines DSM’s commitment to working closely with partners, customers and suppliers to realize a more sustainable value chain and economy.”
Mark Vester, global circular economy leader at Sabic, said, “We are committed to finding innovative solutions that help to capture value from used plastic which would otherwise have been discarded. This includes collaborating with players across the entire value chain to provide access to more sustainable materials, made using our Trucircle portfolio of circular solutions, and to work towards a circular economy for plastics. We are delighted to work with partners including Cepsa, Fibrant, DSM and Viscofan to help make this vision a reality.”
According to the press statement, the high-performance certified circular polyamide Akulon CRC-MB is produced through a strong value chain collaboration involving a range of partners applying a mass-balancing approach**. Firstly, Sabic produces certified circular benzene, based on materials produced via feedstock recycling of mixed-used plastics used by Cepsa to make certified circular phenol. Fibrant then uses the phenol to produce certified circular caprolactam EcoLactam, which is provided to DSM to produce its certified circular polyamide. Finally, Viscofan combines the certified circular polyethylene and polyamide to produce the multi-barrier film used to create casings for various meat products.
Paul Habets, director of Marketing and sales at Fibrant, said, “We are proud that our EcoLactam Circular is used in Viscofan’s newly developed product. This is an important milestone for us and our value chain partners supporting the development of sustainable and circular products. EcoLactam means high-quality caprolactam with a lower environmental footprint. Together, we’re making important steps toward a carbon-neutral society.”
All of the advanced recycled materials within the value chain will have the globally recognized ISCC Plus certification and will not require re-qualification, it said.
Multi-layer barrier films inherently offer strong sustainability advantages by reducing preventable food waste – which accounts for 8% of total global greenhouse gas emissions – and extending the shelf-life of food products. What’s more, using post-consumer plastics as a feedstock mitigates the depletion of natural resources, reduces plastic waste accumulation, and improves the environmental footprint.
Óscar Ponz, chief plastic business officer at Viscofan, said, “By combining our capacity for innovation and the latest available technology, we have today reached a unique solution in the market using post-consumer recycled plastics. In our sustainable casings program, next to today’s achievement, we’re also in a position to offer bio-based alternatives to our customers. Today’s announcement is a result of the shared commitment to make food systems fair, healthy and environmentally friendly for a more sustainable future. This important project is being developed with the collaboration of important Viscofan customers like ElPozo.”
*The certified circular polyethylene, part of Sabic’s Trucircle portfolio, is based on materials produced via feedstock recycling of mixed and used plastic. Sabic’s uses advanced feedstock recycling technology from UK-based Plastic Energy to recover the material value of mixed and used plastic, including previously challenging to recycle post-consumer plastics, which could otherwise be lost to landfill or incineration. The waste is converted into an oil, which then enters the production chain just like fossil-based feedstock to deliver new materials without compromising quality.
**Mass balance accounting is a well-known approach that has been designed to trace the flow of materials through a complex value chain. The mass balance approach provides a set of rules for allocating recycled content to different products to claim and market the content as ‘recycled ’-based. Source: Ellen MacArthur Foundation (Mass Balance White Paper).