Food processing is a sunrise sector in India. Food & grocery market in India is sixth largest in the world. Processed food segment is expected to grow $ 543 Bn. by 2020 from $ 342 Bn. in 2016.
In country, approx. 2000 KTPA laminated pouches being used in food packaging. Consumption is growing at 11% AAGR means it should double by 2024. These pouches are mostly made from composite laminates consisting multiple substrates BOPP, BOPET, PAPER, Alu. foil, Adhesive and Ink.
Nowadays concerns are being raised on these laminates’ eco-friendliness as they being not easily recyclable. With this article, we would highlight technologies available to make them eco-friendly & recyclable.
To begin with, let’s glance advantages of plastic over others & it’s positive contribution for environment:
* Plastic has many comparative advantages over its peers - Glass, Paper or Metal packaging. It consumes very less energy for conversion & requires very less energy for recycling. Same material can be used again & again many times.
* Plastic’s high strength to weight ratio require less material to pack product. It offers a great deal of source reduction compared to other packing options. Means, less material to be recycled. A plastic pouch can save up to 83% weight, 89% volume and 7% landfill space as compared to rigid & semi-rigid packaging like cans, bag-in-box etc.
So plastic can be a solution for environmental issues, if used sensibly. In this article, our focus is how to minimize the use of ‘non-recyclable’ plastics in food packaging. Replacement of such laminates is possible with ‘PE & PP film based recyclable pouches’. On our latest technology machines, it is possible to make such Co-extruded films, Pouches & Automatically Pack product using FFS Technology.
First step is how to make entirely film based laminates. Let’s understand how a film can replace other substrates:
* In a food pouch, film normally considered as a sealant layer. Its function is to achieve good heat seal & hot tack strength for package integrity. This can be achieved by using PE polymers particularly m-LLDPE grade resins in sealant layer.
* Film’s role increased as it can provide higher shelf-life & good mechanical / dart impact strength & improved clarity to a package. By making a 7-layer Barrier films with PA or EVOH materials one can have high barrier film, good mechanical strength can be achieved by optimizing Blow-up ratio (BUR), and using PP materials for a good clarity & high gloss. Due to its better optics, PP based multilayer film is more popular for Candy, Snack food, Biscuits and other Bakery products.
* Further it is also possible to consider blown film as a ‘printed substrate’ either reverse or surface to replace reverse printed PET/BOPP. Here challenge is it should be printable not only on CI presses but also in Rotogravure press. This means Blown films have to be stiffer & transparent. By using HDPE it is possible to achieve higher stiffness.
* Finally, a blown film is required to perform well also in lamination process whether it be a solvent less or a solvent based lamination or extrusion lamination in order to make completely recyclable laminates.
We suggest two basic recyclable film structures here -
1) PE-PE Laminates for packing variety of products e.g. salt, detergent, atta, dry groceries, edible oils etc. The structure will consist of 12-15 micron PP based PE blown film reverse printed and laminated to stock PE film of required thickness. The outer 12 micron PP based PE film offer excellent shine & clarity and essentially replaces PET.
2) BOPP+PE based PP film as sealant layer. BOPP will not heat sealable and PE based PP film will act as a sealant layer with broader temperature window as compared to CPP which has lower sealing temperature window. This film will eliminate issues of under or over sealing on pouch making & FFS machines and can be primarily be used for packing of confectionaries, bakery and snacks.
Mamata’s 3-Layer blown film line for eco-friendly film
Mamata’s Pouch maker for eco-friendly pouches
Mamata’s Horizontal Form Fill & Seal machine for eco-friendly packaging