Supporting the Co-op’s recent announcement that it plans to have 80% of its own-brand packaging recyclable by 2020, Coveris has developed an innovative new multilayer film with integral sealing capabilities that enables current polythene lined packaging trays to be more easily recycled. 

The development comes after the news that two-thirds of all plastic packaging used for consumer products in the UK is being sent to landfill or incineration with only one third being recycled, according to figures from the Co-op. Only half a million of the 1.5 million tonnes of recyclable plastic waste created every year is being reused as intended. 

As a strategic packaging partner to the Co-op, Coveris has been working closely with the retailer and its manufacturers to deliver more recyclable solutions using new materials and manufacturing technologies.

Developed at Coveris Winsford, the UK’s largest blown extrusion facility, technical engineers have worked to formulate a thin, multi-layer, polyester barrier solution that enables plastic lidding film to be heat-sealed direct to the packaging tray through integral capabilities within the material. Traditionally film is sealed to the pre-lined tray using a polythene (PE) bonding layer which currently makes the PET tray more unlikely to be recycled. 

Printed and converted at Coveris’ Gainsborough site, the finished format offers a sustainable, high-quality, high performance solution for tray packed products. 

Currently available across standard and Irresistible Co-op cooked meat lines, the new packaging has been developed in collaboration with Tulip, the country’s largest producer of pork products. Specially formulated using innovative nine-layer extrusion technology and converted to form a high-performance laminate, the new solution works to deliver the same, if not better, seal integrity, visual clarity, and shelf-life benefits as before. The new film also utilises burst-peel functionality to offer a more consumer friendly, easy-open solution. 

Fundamental to driving the project forward from a manufacturer’s perspective, Matt Richards, Tulip’s Group Innovation Manager said “We are delighted to have worked alongside Co-op and our packaging supplier Coveris on this project, which is an excellent example of how supply chain collaboration plays a key role in reducing packaging waste.  Tulip is committed to developing more recyclable packaging solutions that benefit product quality and shelf life, and this innovative new film meets leading sustainability, functionality and performance demands.

The new film was recognised at Co-op’s recent annual technical conference with the coveted sustainability award. Leading the discussion around packaging recyclability and the retailer’s ambitious 2020 targets, Iain Ferguson, Co-op’s Environment Manager added: “The Co-op is delighted to see packaging manufacturers such as Coveris producing new developments that help us to achieve our ambition of making our packaging easy to recycle.”

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