Closing the recycling loop – shrink film made from 100 percent recycled material
The Dortmund-based system supplier offers users a comprehensive range of services for retrofitting existing lines and testing films. With the help of this new alternative, KHS is continuing to implement its strategy for reducing packaging waste and promoting a closed cycle of recyclable materials on the market.
In terms of sustainability, plastics have a bad reputation among many consumers. "The problem here, however, lies less in their explicit use, because plastics have a variety of positive material properties. For example, they are not only unbreakable and flexible in use, but also effectively protect the packaged goods from harmful influences," says Martin Thyssen, packaging expert for cardboard, paper and shrink film at KHS. Rather, the criticism is ignited by current challenges in the areas of disposal and recycling. "Consumers, retailers and the food and beverage industry are therefore increasingly demanding environmentally friendly packaging solutions that are not only recyclable but also made of recycled material," Thyssen explains. With the now possible processing of shrink film made from 100 percent recyclate, the KHS Group is meeting these demands and adding another sustainable alternative to its packaging portfolio.
Use of recycled material in existing and new machinesThe use of film made from 100 percent recycled material is now possible on all KHS shrink packers in the TSP, WSP, SP, and PSP series. Thanks to their modular design, existing machines can be easily adapted. Their use is suitable for PET and glass bottles as well as beverage cans.
For manufacturers who work with their own film suppliers, KHS offers a wide range of services: "In our in-house laboratory, we can check the desired films to see if they are compatible with our machines," says Thyssen. In addition, the experienced KHS service engineers are available to assist their customers with direct commissioning on site or via remote services.
Sustainable solution for the beverage industryThe use of recycled film pays off for users in several respects. "On the one hand, it reduces the CO2 footprint by up to 65 per cent compared to virgin material, according to market information from various film manufacturers, and thus contributes to significant resource savings," explains Thyssen. On the other hand, bottlers are getting ahead of the planned legislative changes in some countries regarding fixed quotas. For example, plastic packaging in Great Britain must have a recycled content of at least 30 percent by April 2022. France is already a step ahead: since 1 January 2021, it has been mandatory throughout the country that plastic packaging must consist of at least 50 percent post-consumer recycled materials. In both countries, companies face increased tax payments if they fall short of the quotas.
It is true that the use of films made from recycled material is more expensive than conventional virgin material. Experience shows that the additional costs are up to 10 percent for a 50 per cent rPE content and up to 15 percent for a 100 percent content. Thyssen is certain, however, that the advantage of acting sustainably through the use of recycled film beats the increased costs – especially if legal undercutting is accompanied in future by environmental taxes to be paid.
In addition to remaining easy to process, the sustainable packaging solution allows for valuable messaging. "With the processability of films made from 100 percent recycled material, we are sending a clear signal for the protection of the environment," explains Thyssen. In this way, KHS is specifically focusing on the further establishment of environmentally friendly solutions on the market and the promotion of the circular economy.www.khs.com