Berry Global and Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company have come together to coat thermoformed tubes, jars, and bottles with a recyclable, EVOH-free barrier resin in hopes of enhancing the recyclability of food packaging.

Mitsubishi’s MXD6 barrier coating is designed to extend the shelf life of food products and overcome the issues of degradation, contamination, and other recyclability and reprocessing issues associated with EVOH.

The resin has been validated for the polypropylene recycling stream with Critical Guidance recognition from the Association of Plastics Recyclers (APR). Validation testing is said to have revealed that MXD6 is more compatible with existing reprocessing systems than EVOH, apparently enhancing the cleanliness and quality of the reprocessed material.

It is apparently recyclable up to 12%, meaning it can be used in larger percentages without compromising brands’ sustainability claims. Additionally, it is expected to offer up to 12% loading and serve as an alternative during material shortages.

Berry’s role in the partnership was to provide its global capabilities, sustainability leadership, and innovation expertise, while Mitsubishi supplied the material.

“In addition to maintaining food freshness by keeping the air out and flavours in, MXD6 is recyclable – so it has the potential to significantly reduce both food and plastic waste,” explained Debra Wilson, Material Science Director for Berry’s Consumer Packaging – North America Division. “With the APR recognition, brand owners can feel confident this new alternative to EVOH can help support their sustainability goals without sacrificing performance or product protection.”

Numa Dongo, general manager of Mitsubishi Gas Chemical America’s Specialty Materials Department, added: “Our company contributes to societal growth and harmony by creating a wide range of value through chemistry. Improving recyclability of plastic packaging and extending the shelf life of foods progresses the sustainable development goal of responsible consumption and production.”

The news comes as Kemira and PA Consulting join forces to develop a polysaccharide-based renewable barrier coating material for flexible food packaging applications. The coating will be based on a biotechnology process that produces new renewable polymers through enzymatic polymerization.

Xampla also plans to expand its biodegradable, food-safe coating for takeaway packaging, sachets, and cups into new markets after raising US$7 million (€6,466,250) in its latest funding round.

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