Toppan, Mitsui Chemicals Tohcello, and Mitsui Chemicals are piloting the horizontal recycling of printed BOPP film back into new flexible packaging film in a bid to scale up the relevant technologies and operational infrastructure and facilitate network growth in the flexible packaging materials industry.

The pilot will involve Mitsui Chemicals recovering used packaging film, removing any printing, and producing recycled pellets from the remaining material, while Mitsui Chemicals Tohcello will create recycled film; both will be responsible for quality control in their respective contributions. Toppan will supply used BOPP, convert the recycled film, and assume responsibility for sales and marketing.

Evaluation of the recycled BOPP film’s quality – especially its compatibility with printing, lamination, and both the forming and filling of flexible pouches – will be undertaken by Toppan. The lamination process will utilise Mitsui Chemicals’ ‘eco-friendly’ adhesive.

Their efforts seek to meet targets set out by the Japanese Government’s Resource Circulation Strategy for Plastics, including transitioning to reusable or recyclable plastic designs by 2025 and, by 2030, reusing or recycling 60% of plastic containers and packaging, as well as doubling the recycling rates of plastic resources.

In light of this, the companies aspire to implement the technology by the 2025 fiscal year.

A similar development saw NOVA Chemicals Corporation invest in its first mechanical recycling facility to process post-consumer plastic films into its SYNDIGO recycled polyethylene.

Also, a new, film-to-film recycling technology from Kao Corporation is implementing used refill packs into a layer of its Attack ZERO liquid laundry detergent packaging.

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