NEENAH, Wis. – October 18, 2023 – VOID Technologies [VOID™] is pleased to announce the launch of its VO+™ PE 1300 Series Voiding Agents to serve the rapidly growing demand for recyclable opaque films. The resulting voided polyethylene (PE) film structures are compatible with existing PE recycling streams and meet the requirements for a wide range of recycle ready packaging applications such as laminates, wicketed bags, labels, and flow wraps.
VO+ PE 1300 Series is being used to develop voided machine direction oriented (MDO) HDPE films that offer a combination of low density and high opacity that is not feasible with mineral pigments like TiO2. The innovation positions a new PE-based recycle-ready alternative to pearlized biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP), which is not widely recyclable and offers a significant growth opportunity for PE film converters.
While pearlized BOPP has displaced paper for opaque white packaging, labels, and confectionary wrappers since the 1980s, it is challenging to recycle as it is very difficult to separate from flexible PE packaging. The two materials are highly incompatible, and post-use BOPP can essentially function as a contaminant in the more common PE flexible packaging recycle streams. Even if BOPP could be successfully separated from PE flexibles, there are almost no dedicated recycling streams for flexible PP packaging, meaning the material would likely be lost to landfill.
VO+ PE 1300 Series offers a PE alternative to pearlized BOPP that is compatible with existing PE recycling streams including pre-qualification as recyclable via Store Drop-off (in the US). According to How2Recycle®, in the US, “Store Drop-off is the only recycling option for flexible packaging at scale, and is only available to polyethylene flexible packaging.”
James Gibson, VOID Technologies’ CEO says, “VOID is seeing strong demand for its new VO+ PE 1300 Series product because it enables the recycle ready packaging designs that brand owners and converters are seeking. VO+ PE 1300 Series is designed for MDO lines and can produce a Store Drop-off recyclable HDPE alternative to pearlized BOPP, offering PE converters a very significant growth opportunity without cannibalizing existing PE product lines. Commercial quantities of VO+ PE 1300 Series are available to meet growing demand and our customers are already conducting end-to-end supply chain trials in support of their plans to launch new packaging designs at scale in 2024.”
VO+ PE 1300 Series is based on a sophisticated formulation, using polymeric cavitation agents, eliminating the need to use minerals that are abrasive on expensive equipment. This next-generation VO+ formulation offers a broader MDO operating window, excellent bubble stability, and higher throughputs.
VO+ PE 1300 Series is compliant with direct food contact standards in North America and Europe and has passed key recycling standards outlined by the Association of Plastic Recyclers and RecyClass. In addition, How2Recycle® has pre-qualified VO+ as eligible for Store Drop-off recycling (in the US) and Widely Recyclable in Canada (curbside). As VO+ is an enabling technology for MDO applications the ultimate How2Recycle label provided for consumer-facing on-pack use is determined based on the specific film structures used and the contents of the packages.
“As converters continue to invest in MDO, there is a need to develop a new generation of MDO applications to address both plastic reduction and recycling targets,” says Gibson. “Our new VO+ PE 1300 Series addresses four key challenges facing packaging producers today – MDO production performance, in-use package performance, material reduction targets and recyclability.”
About VOID Technologies
VOID is a materials science company accelerating the transition to more sustainable plastics and packaging. The company combines its VO+ cavitation technology and R&D labs to help plastic and packaging companies rapidly develop new innovative products with a reduced environmental footprint. VOID’s extensively patented VO+ technology was first conceived as part of a research initiative at Kimberly-Clark. Soon after, in 2015, VOID was launched as an independent company. Today, VOID has R&D labs and a compound manufacturing facility based in Neenah, Wisconsin (USA) and has commercial teams in Canada, France, and the UK. Learn more at: www.voidtechnologies.com.
VO+ Technology for Recycle Ready PE Packaging
The leading recycling bodies in North America and Europe have defined a density threshold of less than (<) 1g/cm3 for products to be deemed recyclable in typical flexible PE streams. Extensively patented VO+ cavitation technology creates a nano- and micro-voided structure in MDO films that reduces density substantially below 1g/cm3 while creating opacity (via light diffraction) without pigments like TiO2 that can decrease the optical quality of the recyclate upon remelting. Pigments like TiO2 can be used in thin PE films to achieve high opacity, but at thicknesses less than 35µm, VOID’s research shows the density increases to >0.97g/cm3, compromising their ability to float in water for effective separation in current recycling systems.
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Phone: +1 989-430-4621