GERMANY – Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics has partnered with leading machine manufacturers W&H and B&B to launch a recyclable wide-format MDO-PE bag for pet food packaging.

The bags are said to fall in line with recycling guidelines and are made with a thin layer of EVOH barrier over several structural layers of PE.

This is thought to make them fully recyclable while ensuring that it is as functional and attractive as standard plastic bags.

To manufacture the packaging, films are reportedly produced using W&H’s VAREX II extrusion machine with inline MDO.

The process results in a final web width of 2×1260 mm and a printing speed of 400 meters a minute – a process that is apparently optimized to reduce the wastage of materials during production.

Dow’s Pack Studios is said to laminate the films at an industrial scale before they are sent through B&B’s SFB, a side gusseted bag machine that claims to produce 80 bags per minute. Such a figure is allegedly comparable to multi-material PET/PE structures.

Romain Cazenave, Packaging EMEA Marketing Director, Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics said: “Unlocking packaging recyclability is a challenge that no one company can do alone.

“Using Dow’s ELITE, INNATE and AFFINITY high-performance resins and sealants in combination with our partners’ state-of-the-art machinery technologies and know-how, has enabled us to realize the next generation of recyclable packaging to foster higher recycling rates and enable the circular economy of plastics.”

Dr. Lennart Ederleh, Technical Sales Director at W&H added: “On our wider VAREX II extrusion line with inline MDO, we produce MDO-PE film optimized for the following production processes.

“Thanks to perfect flatness and excellent film quality even with this wide film format, our HELIOSTAR II rotogravure press prints at very high speeds of 400 m/min. To put it in a nutshell: Two-ups for doubled efficiency.”

This new technology comes at a time when a great majority of pet food containers cannot be recycled in the traditional consumer recycling system.

According to Melissa Bauer, Director of sustainability at Pet Sustainability Coalition (PSC), 99% of pet food and treat bags are not recyclable in North America.

“PSC estimates that over 300 million pounds of packaging go into landfills, which represents over US$1 billion of the pet food proportion of the US flexible packaging market annually,” said Bauer.

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