Mondi Group has announced the opening of a laboratory in Frantschach, Austria, aimed at testing how its paper-based materials with non-paper components such as coatings will perform in large-scale recycling mills.

Mondi says the in-house recyclability testing laboratory will help to determine how its paper and paper-based packaging will perform in a large-scale recycling mill, on a smaller scale. The company adds that it will specifically test how non-paper components such as barrier coatings – which are added to packaging for applications like perishable foods to enhance barrier functionality – may impact recyclability.

According to Mondi, the data collected at the laboratory will be used to improve existing products and provide reliable information about their environmental impact. The company will reportedly also use the results to determine how the design of new packaging can be improved, as well as how best to improve the circularity of its material flows.

Mondi adds that the tests will be carried out on various paper and paper-based packaging products developed by Mondi, with the goal of determining whether the packaging can be efficiently recycled. The laboratory apparently works in a similar way to industrial recycling facilities, which the company claims will provide “concrete evidence” as to whether the materials can be recycled.

Elisabeth Schwaiger, head of R&D and IP flexible packaging at Mondi, comments: “The ability to provide our customers with information on the recyclability of our products will be a key enabler in our efforts to develop more sustainable solutions and enhance our value proposition for customers.

“Currently, 78% of Mondi’s group wide portfolio is already either reusable, recyclable or compostable. This recycling lab enables us to move closer to our MAP2030 goals of making 100% of our products fulfil these requirements by 2025.”

Last year, Mondi developed paper-based packaging for some of Iceland’s frozen food ranges using its functional barrier paper. Other solutions from Mondi include its partnership with the German machine supplier, beck packautomaten, on flexible paper-based packaging that provides protection against water vapour and moisture during the transport of products for online retail.