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SCREEN teams up with RKW and MORCHEM to Develop Recycle-Ready Mono-Material PE/PE Laminate Structure

In response to the growing demand for sustainable and recyclable flexible packaging solutions, three industry leaders have united their expertise to develop a revolutionary Recycle-Ready Mono-material PE/PE laminate structure. This collaborative effort aims to help flexible packaging converters and brand owners meet their sustainability goals regarding packaging circularity by applying the Designed-for-Recycling (D4R) principles to advance the upcoming European legislation (PPWR), which requires all packaging in the EU to be fully recyclable by 2030.

SCREEN, RKW Group, and MORCHEM have joined forces to create a flexible packaging solution that not only meets the requirements for mechanical recyclability, ensuring compatibility with existing recycling processes and contributing to the transition towards a circular economy but also delivers exceptional performance and functionality for packaging converters and brand owners.

The key components of this innovative packaging structure include:

An MDO-PE film web produced by RKW Group forms the foundation of the packaging structure, marketed under the brand name RKW HorizonĀ®. These mono-axially oriented PE films offer excellent tear resistance, transparency, and printability, making them ideal for a wide range of flexible packaging applications. "Our collaboration with SCREEN and MORCHEM represents a significant milestone in developing sustainable flexible packaging solutions," said Luc Hermans, Director of Sales Consumer Packaging at RKW Group. "By leveraging our material science expertise and engineering know-how in PE film production, SCREEN's advanced inkjet digital printing technology, and MORCHEM's RecyClass-approved SL adhesive, we have created a Recycle-Ready packaging structure that meets the highest standards of performance and sustainability."

The MDO-PE film was digitally printed using SCREEN's latest innovation for printing mainstream flexible packaging: the Truepress PAC830F inkjet digital press. This innovative digital printing technology enables fast printing speeds of up to 75m/min using water-based food-compliant inks in combination with a proprietary primer, offering converters increased productivity, faster job turnaround times, reduced waste and additional flexibility in meeting evolving market demands.

"The development of this innovative packaging solution highlighted the importance of collaboration across the packaging value chain," emphasised Juan Cano, Business Development Director-Flexible Packaging at SCREEN. "Together, we have demonstrated our commitment to developing innovations that drive sustainability and circularity in the packaging industry, pushing the boundaries of digital printing technology using water-based inkjet inks on MDO-PE films at an industrial scale and setting a new standard for a fully recyclable PE packaging solution."

Finally, a RecyClass-Approved Solventless Adhesive developed by MORCHEM was used to laminate the digitally printed MDO-PE films against a Low SIT PE sealant web (also supplied by RKW Group). This adhesive ensures strong bonding between the layers while maintaining compatibility with mechanical recycling processes. The RecyClass certification verifies the adhesive's impact on the quality of recycled PE flexible packaging, ensuring full compatibility with existing recycling streams. "MORCHEM is proud to contribute with its adhesive technology to this collaborative effort aimed at advancing sustainable packaging solutions," said Mireia Diaz, Business Development and Innovation Director. "Our RecyClass-approved solventless adhesive (up to 4,5%wt) ensures the integrity of the laminate structure while supporting mechanical recycling, enabling converters and brand owners to transition towards circular packaging models."

The resulting mono-material packaging jointly developed by SCREEN, RKW Group and Morchem exemplifies a commitment to innovation, sustainability, and circularity in the flexible packaging industry. By combining the expertise of industry leaders, this partnership has created a pioneering solution that addresses the pressing need for recyclable and future-ready packaging solutions. Together, we are paving the way for a more sustainable future, one recyclable package at a time.

The Recycle-Ready pouches produced will be showcased at SCREEN's stand at drupa 2024 (Hall 8a, Stand A03). We invite all visitors to come and inspect these pouch samples firsthand, witnessing the groundbreaking innovation and environmental impact of this fully recyclable PE laminate. Join us at drupa 2024 to see how our collaborative efforts are shaping the future of flexible packaging.