Hoffmann Neopac is launching a novel line of mono-material barrier tubes providing exemplary product protection while being "fully compatible" with existing HDPE recycling processes. 

The company says that it is the first tube solution in Europe to receive full RecyClass technology and product approval per the organization’s “Recyclability Evaluation Protocol for HDPE Containers” standards. Polyfoil® MMB tubes are suitable to the oral care and pharmaceutical sectors, for consumer items like toothpastes and cosmetics and pharma products in the dermatological or pain-relief sectors.

Incorporating a novel mono-directional-oriented (MDO) barrier film technology, Neopac’s Polyfoil® MMB tubes can reduce tube body weight by "as much as 50%" compared to the company’s conventional Polyfoil® technology. They are also reportedly the first tubes incorporating high-density polyethylene (HDPE) caps with low-melt index HDPE to receive full technology approval from RecyClass. The testing of polyethylene cap is a big step forward for the packaging industry, as this advanced technology was not tested before in tubes.

Notably, the Polyfoil® MMB tubes are the first such solutions approved by RecyClass that incorporate a thin film metallization option protected within the tube body structure for excellent chemical decoration stability. This facet provides improved water vapor transmission rate (WVTR) barrier and enhanced metallization optics similar to ABL (aluminum barrier laminate) tubes, which currently are not considered recyclable with HDPE recycling streams per RecyClass criteria. All tests were performed with fully printed tubes. 

Independently from RecyClass testing, fully printed Polyfoil® MMB tubes with HDPE caps have also obtained the AAA rating from Germany-based testing lab cyclos-HTP, Institute of Recyclability and Product Responsibility, which certifies that the product has a recyclability rate of more than 95%.

Neopac’s goal is to create tubes that simplify recycling – a crucial aspect of next-level sustainability practices. Today, multi-layer, aluminum foil-containing barrier packaging is particularly problematic for recyclers as, among other challenges, it is incompatible with existing mechanical sorting techniques. Therefore, eco-conscious advancements in the ways plastics are designed and produced are a must in the nearer term.

The new Polyfoil® Mono-Material Barrier tubes comprise tube bodies made of HDPE-based adhesive laminated barrier structures, containing less than 5% of foreign materials (barrier material, inks, adhesives, etc.) to avoid disruptions in existing recycling processes. Due to the application of innovative oriented and combined barrier technologies as well as pharma grade contact layers, the tubes provide excellent product compatibility and maintain premium product protection while keeping the known aesthetic characteristics of Neopac’s conventional Polyfoil® tubes. 

Polyfoil® MMB Tubes – reduced product carbon footprintThe LCA study performed from an independent laboratory according to ISO 14.040/44 resp. ISO/TS 14.067 demonstrates that the “cradle to grave” carbon footprint of Polyfoil® MMB tubes is reduced up to 35% compared to Al barrier-containing Polyfoil® tubes, depending on the wall thickness and end-of-line scenario selected.

“Combining the RecyClass-approved, lightweight Polyfoil® MMB tubes with our available HDPE closure options creates a new platform of innovative tube solutions unsurpassed in their eco-friendliness,” said Dr. Philippe Kern, Director of R&D and Quality Management. “Producing mono-material-based tube solutions with advanced thin film barrier options that maintain high performance barrier, provide premium product protection and extend shelf life  has been a goal we’ve been moving toward for years. Creating these next generation tubes, which combine our 60 years expertise of barrier technology with premium aesthetics, was an interesting challenge, and we are proud to have accomplished what amounts to a new paradigm in tube packaging sustainability.”