The companies say the lid can replace single-use plastic and significantly lessens CO2 emissions during production.
Scandicore, a manufacturer of paper cores and a supplier of tubes for the consumer market that is based in Boras, Sweden, has partnered with Pulpac, a packaging manufacturer in Goteborg, Sweden, has launched what they say is the world’s first paper tube lid.
According to a joint news release, the lids are made with PulPac’s dry molded fiber technology. Bridge volumes will be manufactured by PulPac, and the first art print deliveries with the new lid are estimated to reach consumers this spring.
“Safeguarding the environment and the quality of our products, are our primary competitive advantages,” says Eva Engström, CEO at Scandicore. “The physical strength of the dry molded fiber products, in combination with resource efficiency, where valuable water resources and energy are saved, in addition to significant reductions of CO2, makes this a strategic investment for Scandicore."
Dry molded fiber is PulPac's fiber-forming technology. The company says it can replace single-use plastic with sustainable fiber-based alternatives at a low cost. The patented technology is available to converters that set up their own production. To accelerate the shift, PulPac has developed the PulPac Modula standardized machine platform, now starting to roll out to licensees and available at the PulPac Tech Center for sample and bridge volume production.
“We offer a ‘wheat to bread’ setup, delivering application development, toolmaking, and sample production to ease the transition to Dry Molded Fiber,” says Sanna Fager, chief commercial officer at PulPac. “In close collaboration with our clients, we develop competitive, and sustainable market-ready applications. The paper tube lid is a perfect fit for our technology, and we are happy to partner with Scandicore to bring this unique solution to the market.”
The feedstock will be made using Honeywell’s UpCycle Process Technology at the recently announced Honeywell and Sacyr advanced recycling plant to be built in Andalucía, Spain.
Honeywell, headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, says it has agreed to supply TotalEnergies with recycled polymer feedstock (RPF) made using Honeywell’s UpCycle Process Technology, a form of chemical recycling, at the recently announced Honeywell and Sacyr advanced recycling plant to be built in Andalucía, Spain. TotalEnergies, headquartered in Paris, will purchase and convert this raw material into virgin-quality polymers, which could be used for food-grade packaging and other high demanding applications.
The UpCycle plant, which will be owned by a joint venture between Honeywell and Sacyr, will process and convert 30,000 tons of mixed plastics annually into RFP using Honeywell's technology, which is based on pyrolysis, which uses heat in the absence of oxygen to break down polymers. Startup of the UpCycle plant is expected in 2023, with RPF to be used for the manufacturing of high-quality polymers in TotalEnergies’ European-based production units. With identical properties to virgin polymers, the recycled polymers are expected to be suitable for a wide range of applications including food-grade applications, such as flexible and rigid food packaging containers, Honeywell says.
This first planned project represents the start of the collaboration between Honeywell and TotalEnergies in the field of advanced recycling. Both parties say they are committed to addressing the issue of plastic waste and helping to build a more circular and sustainable economy in Europe, and the rest of the world.
“Plastics demand will continue to grow, so it’s critical to create a linkage between waste management and plastics production to strengthen a circular flow of plastics,” says Ben Owens, vice president and general manager, Honeywell Sustainable Technology Solutions. “The relationship with TotalEnergies will provide a strong recycled polymer feedstock offtake partner and coupled with our recently announced advanced recycling plant with Sacyr, Honeywell is leading the drive toward a more circular plastics economy.”
"We are pleased to partner with Honeywell to tackle the issue of plastic waste through the development of advanced plastic recycling and thereby the circular economy, one of the pillars of sustainable development. This project, with a 2023 targeted startup, will contribute to meet our ambition of producing 30 percent recycled and renewable polymers by 2030,” says V alérie Goff, senior vice president, Polymers, at TotalEnergies .
One reclaimer says unless fiber producers are willing to pay more for material, it will go to the bottle market.
While prices for mixed-color and natural high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and polypropylene (PP) bales have contracted, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle bales have maintained their value, Bill Keegan of Dem-Con Cos. says. Dem-Con operates a material recovery facility (MRF) in Shakopee, Minnesota, that serves the Minneapolis-St. Paul area as well as greater Minnesota.
Since October of last year, Keegan says, HDPE bales, particularly mixed color, have decreased considerably in price after gaining substantially from January through July of 2021. As of February, he says natural HDPE bale prices have decreased 45 percent from their highest price last year, while mixed-color HDPE bale prices have fallen 60 percent. PP bales prices as of February were 40 percent lower than their high last year.
Keegan says HDPE and PP scrap is “coming back to more historic prices,” adding that their values are still roughly 30 percent greater than they were in 2019.
Bale prices for these polyolefin scrap grades are responding to lower virgin plastic prices. “Underlying demand for recycled content is buffering that,” Keegan says as brand owners recognize that recycled content is a necessity, even if it’s not mandated by law.
The pressure is especially strong when it comes to PET packaging, which is diverting material away from fiber production. According to the “2020 PET Recycling Report” that the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR), Charlotte, North Carolina, released in late 2021, the amount of recycled PET (rPET) used by end markets in the U.S. and Canada increased by 10 percent in 2020, signaling strong support of postconsumer content in brand packaging. RPET use by the food/beverage and non-food/beverage bottle categories grew by 32 percent, surpassing fiber for the first time as the primary user of postconsumer PET bottles.
A scrap buyer for a company that primarily serves the fiber market says bottle-to-bottle recycling is the “holy grail” in rPET. Unless fiber producers are willing to pay more for material, it will go to the bottle market, where the mandates are at play and the consumer pressure is more acutely felt, he says.
Bottle-to-bottle demand also is increasing the barrier to entry for reclaimers, which have to invest in more sophisticated technology and processes to produce food-grade rPET, the buyer says. “That is the backside to the forward progress,” he adds.
One PET recycler that is investing in additional bottle-to-bottle recycling capacity is Evergreen, based in Clyde, Ohio. The company began recycling to have recycled content for the strapping its parent company produced. Now, roughly 95 percent of its rPET pellet production is sold for use in food-grade packaging, Evergreen General Manager Greg Johnson says.
Evergreen completed the acquisition of UltrePET and Novapet from wTe Corp., Bedford, Massachusetts, in November 2021. The move helped to increase its annual rPET capacity to more than 147 million pounds from 40 million pounds just one year ago. Additionally, Evergreen is adding a 54,000-square-foot building that will house four high-volume, food-grade rPET manufacturing lines at its Clyde site, taking its overall rPET pellet production to 217 million pounds.
“We’ve gone to the market and said, ‘Here’s our capacity. Once we sell it, we’re done,’” Omar Abuaita, president and CEO of Evergreen’s parent company, Greenbridge, says. “So, we are signing up multiyear contracts with a lot of the major CPGs (consumer packaged goods), and, once we’re committing to them, we’re done with everybody else.”
Abuaita says two major factors were behind the company’s purchase of UltrePET and Novapet. “We’re constantly looking for opportunities to expand our reach to our existing customer base as well as new ones,” he says. “And another big play with the Nova acquisition was the security of supply. That was a pretty big factor in our decision-making.”
Purchasing Novapet allows Evergreen to tap into the supply of PET bottles generated in Nova Scotia and the other Atlantic provinces of Canada.
The resource provides the most current plastic packaging recyclability guidelines for countries and regions around the world, the association says.
The Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR), Washington, has launched the APR Global Design Catalog. The association says the resource provides comprehensive access to the most current plastic packaging recyclability guidelines for countries and regions around the world.
Different countries and regions operate a variety of recycling collection and processing systems, the APR notes. Many of them oversee complex extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs that hold manufacturers and suppliers accountable for the end-of-life fate of packaging materials. EPR programs in virtually all jurisdictions reference some design for recyclability index to encourage companies to design more sustainable packaging.
“The APR Design Guide for Plastics Recyclability remains the leading package design resource for countries across the globe,” says Steve Alexander, APR president and CEO. “Due to the differences in operational recycling systems and EPR requirements among countries, harmonizing design for recyclability across the globe is a challenging endeavor. APR’s Global Design Catalog gives you all the design requirements at your fingertips to assist in comparing and contrasting best design practices in different countries.”
The new catalog includes guidance from Denmark, the EU, France, Germany, Netherlands, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and the U.K. It covers recyclability evaluations for rigid polyethylene terephthalate (PET), rigid high-density polyethylene (HDPE), rigid polypropylene (PP) and flexible polyethylene film packaging. Additional countries and features will be added in the coming months, the APR says.
“Design for recyclability is key to creating a circular economy for plastics packaging,” Alexander says. “APR’s Global Design Catalog, as a complement to the APR Design Guide, provides the detailed design guidance required for brand owners to achieve their sustainability commitments within the demands of the global marketplace.”
APR members can access the catalog for free with a subscription. See https://plasticsrecycling.org/apr-global-guidance for more information.
Funds of up to $500 are available on a competitive basis for AOR members.