VOID Technologies, a materials science company, has developed a patented masterbatch technology for cavitating PE film, which has received pre-qualification from How2Recycle as Store Drop-off recyclable in the US and widely recyclable in Canada (curbside).
How2Recycle, well known for its standardised labelling system, has pre-qualified VOID’s VO+ PE Masterbatch technology, in the form of a VO+ LLDPE example film submitted for evaluation.
As a result, film and packaging manufacturers in North America can use the ‘VO+ PE Masterbatch’ to help brands achieve their plastics and packaging reduction targets through low density cavitated PE films.
VO+ is a patented cavitation technology that replaces solid plastic with micro- and nano-scale air pockets to reduce the carbon footprint of high-performance packaging products, without gas injection or mineral fillers.
VOID’s cavitated Machine Direction Orientation (MDO) PE films produced using ‘VO+ PE Masterbatch’ are an excellent way for brands to transition to more recyclable packaging, whilst using less plastic. This is because VO+ MDO PE films, alongside being recyclable via Store Drop-Off, offer 35% material saving achieved via density reduction and downgauging, and opacity without TiO2.
VOID’s VO+ PE Masterbatch technology has been developed for specific use in polyethylene Machine Direction Oriented (MDO) film, ideal for a range of applications such as laminates, frozen food, wicketed bags, and flow wraps for confectionery.
As VO+ is just an enabling technology for these potential applications, this is a pre-qualification only; the ultimate How2Recycle label provided for consumer-facing on-pack use is still to be determined based on the specific film structures used and the contents of the packages. This letter does not guarantee that the label listed will always be provided for every use of this package.
“We’re delighted that VO+ has been found by How2Recycle to be recyclable via Store Drop-Off in the US,” says James Gibson, VOID Technologies’ Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder.
“VOID’s unique VO+ technology is helping support the packaging industry’s drive towards greater sustainability.
“Following on from our recent Recyclass and APR approvals, this is another key validation step for the recyclability of VO+ films.
“We now look forward to working alongside film producers, packaging manufacturers and brands to harness the capabilities of VO+ Technology.”
VO+ films are produced by MDO stretching a film extruded with a blend of the VO+ masterbatch with PE. This orientation process causes the VO+ inclusions within the masterbatch to separate from the polyethylene to create a non-breathable nano- and micro-voided structure within the film.
The combination of MDO and cavitation leads to improved film performance including puncture resistance and high opacity via light diffraction without the need for TiO2.
VO+ technology offers two clear potential benefits for the recyclability of PE films.
The first being, VO+ PE films have low density – even when very high opacity is required – meaning the films will always float in separation systems, as opposed to conventional PE films, which often sink due to high loadings of TiO2 pigments.
In addition, during the recycling process, VO+ films will turn from white to clear and will retain similar properties to recycled PE resins.