Many multilayer barrier films for food packaging consist of a combination of PE and PA6, where PE acts as a barrier for moisture and PA6 as a barrier for oxygen thus significantly extending the shelf life of the packaged food. Such packaging cannot be produced with a mono-material PE film, since the layer thicknesses to achieve sufficient barrier properties would become too high. The addition of PA6 in the multi-material solution reduces the total layer thickness significantly and improves the mechanical integrity of the film resulting in less rupture of the films during transportation and logistics. This leads to a lower food waste percentage and thus to a significantly better carbon footprint in a Life Cycle Analysis.
Today APK and DSM are also able to address the “End-of-Life” stage of the Life Cycle of a multilayer PE/PA6 packaging film using APK’s Newcycling® process, a technique that makes it possible to recover high-quality re-granulates with properties close to virgin plastics, from complex mixtures and multi-layer composites (so-called multilayer barrier packaging). With conventional recycling systems that is not possible. “Moreover the Newcycling process works highly cost-efficient and offers a competitive, sustainable material source. The re-granulates, generated from multilayer PE/PA6 packaging waste can be used again in demanding flexible packaging which contributes to the target of a circular economy” explained Florian Riedl, Head of Business Development at APK AG.
APK is building a plant for recycling multilayer PE/PA6 packaging, using Newcycling process, which will start up in Q4 of this year.
At its headquarters in Merseburg near Leipzig, Germany, APK produces high-quality plastic recycle reclaimed from post-consumer and production sources. APK’s core technology is its Newcycling® process, a solvent-based technique that makes it possible to recover from complex mixtures and multi-layer composites (so-called multilayer barrier packaging) high-quality re-granulates with properties close to virgin plastics. With conventional recycling systems that is not possible. Newcycling® allows the pelletized recyclates to be used in demanding applications, such as flexible packaging, again. For more information, please visit www.apk-ag.de.