Multilayer films offer excellent barrier properties in terms of protection and preservation of food products, as well as their overall efficiency in environmental terms; however, they can only be recycled to a limited extent, since mechanical recycling processes are not suitable for composite materials.
To overcome this impasse, BASF has been working for some time on the ChemCycling process, with which it intends to promote the chemical recycling of plastic waste, in order to process and reuse mixed plastic materials.
The alternative. The flexible packaging produced specifically for a cheese product – the “Zottarella” – made by Zott Gourmet Dairy, thus testifies to the feasibility of the undertaking; the German manufacturer in fact played an active part in the pilot project together with BASF (which supplied the chemically recycled polyamide), Borealis (that provided the sustainable polyethylene) and Südpack (which converted the multilayer film and created the pouch).
The peculiarity of this pilot project is that both packaging components – polyamide and polyethylene – are made from chemically recycled material, thanks to the selection of special polymers. Moreover, the collaboration between the companies involved has enabled the constant certification of all phases, from the raw material to the finished packaging, which also responds to all the required functionalities, first of all the barrier properties and weldability.
The raw materials for polyamide and polyethylene were produced in very small quantities within the ChemCycling project. The pyrolysis oil derived from plastic waste was supplied by a partner and fed into BASF’s Verbund production site in Ludwigshafen as a raw material. According to the certified mass balance method, both plastics have an allocated 100% share of recycled materials.