Introduction to recyclable packaging coating
The first and foremost two functions packaging coating is to protect the integrity of the contents. But in today’s packaging landscape it is sharing it’s top spot with sustainability and environmental responsibility. Packaging engineers are on a journey to approach packaging designs with a holistic view, use responsible sourcing and keep in mind end-of-life scenarios for the packaging material. The coating that is used has to fit into this mindset perfectly. Important functions of recyclable packaging coating are:
- To fulfill legal requirements from local and global governments.
- To fulfill technical requirements from te packaging manufacturer.
- Withstand the production process.
- Bridge the gap between cost and performance.
- Protecting human health by preventing chemical reactions and migrations into food (food-safe coatings)
- To be free of BPA
- To be fully recyclable, sustainable and innovative
Application of eco friendly packaging
A recyclable packaging is any material that, after use, can be recovered, cleaned, broken down, and reprocessed into raw material. A wide range of packaging coatings can be recycled. They can be applied by thin film, roller, dipping or simply spraying.
A wide range of eco friendly packaging coating solutions
Driven largely by the desires of consumers and major retailers, the packaging industry has been moving toward sustainable options. Sustainable or eco friendly coated packaging usually contains a layer that is made from polymer. The benefits of polymer packaging coating are that it makes your recyclable packaging glossier, smoother, brighter, and protects the ink that is being printed.
- Lamination: adds a thin layer over packaging that improves the appearance and protects the packaging design. Preferably made from soy polymers.
- Aqueous coating: water-based and is used to seal ink onto packaging. It comes in different finishes and is cheaper and more environmentally friendly than lamination, but lamination has better protection. Since aqueous coating is water-based, it is more eco-friendly than other types of varnish and can be recycled as is.
- UV coating: UV/EB printed inks and coatings break down under recycling process conditions, permitting effective recycling of both paper and plastic structures
US and European regulations
To ensure the safety of Food Contact Materials (like food and beverage cans), and to facilitate the free movement of goods, EU law provides for binding rules that business operators must comply with.
The EU Rules on food contact materials can be of general scope, i.e. apply to all FCMs or apply to specific materials only. EU law may be complemented with Member States national legislation if specific EU rules do not exist.
In the US the Food and Drug Administration has issued the code of federal regulations (CFR).