Improved recycling of packaging thanks to innovative solvent-free adhesives

Adhesives for improved recycling of packaging
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Vicky Chatzivasileiou
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Multilayer packaging is designed to meet the highest standards for product shelf life and protection of product quality. Laminates consisting of aluminium foil, polyethylene (PE) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) are the material of choice for the packaging of sensitive food.

As a leader in adhesive technologies, Henkel is committed to actively supporting a circular economy by making it possible to return high-quality materials into the loop after use.

Together with its partners ExxonMobil, Borealis and Saperatec, Henkel has developed a solvent-free adhesive that is suitable for recycling and also for bonding of recycled plastic films. The adhesive is compatible with the olefin layers and has excellent mechanical recycling properties.

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Main results
  • Partnering with raw-material supplier ExxonMobil, Henkel has developed a full PE laminated stand-up pouch (SUP) that can be recycled and reused to create new SUPs, which contain up to 30 percent recycled SUP content themselves, including recycled adhesive, and offer performance that is on par with existing packaging.
  • Borealis and Henkel are working on a pilot for a full PE laminate SUP that contains both virgin and recycled ingredients with 35 percent post-consumer recycled low density polyethylene (r-LDPE).
  • The collaboration with German start-up Saperatec led to the creation of tailor-made adhesives that are compatible with Saperatec’s recycling technology that makes it possible to reintroduce production waste consisting of PE, aluminium and PET into the raw-material cycle.