Materials science company VOID Technologies has achieved Critical Guidance Recognition from the Association of Plastics Recyclers (APR) for its proprietary VO+ PE Masterbatch Technology, confirming its compatibility with PE film recycling in the US.
As a result, film and packaging manufacturers are well placed to achieve plastics and packaging reduction targets through low density cavitated PE films produced using ‘VO+ PE Masterbatch’ technology.
VO+ is an extensively patented cavitation technology that replaces solid plastic with micro- and nano-scale air pockets to create high performance products with a reduced environmental footprint, without any gas injection or heavy mineral fillers. Cavitated Machine Direction Orientation (MDO) PE films produced using VOID’s new ‘VO+ PE Masterbatch’ offer 35% material saving achieved via density reduction and downgauging, and also opacity without TiO2.
In meeting APR’s Critical Guidance for PE Film and Flexible Packaging, the technology has now been accredited as fully compatible with film reclamation and recycling systems sourcing post-consumer PE film from store drop-off collection points or, in some cases, curbside collection, paving the way for its adoption by film and packaging manufacturers across the US.
APR recognition, received following independent laboratory testing in accordance with its Critical Guidance Protocol for PE Film and Flexible Packaging – confirms that VOID’s ‘VO+ Masterbatch Technology’ will be compatible with current, industrial-scale, film-to-film recycling processes.
“VOID’s unique VO+ technology is helping support the packaging industry’s drive towards greater sustainability. Following on from our recent Recyclass approval in the EU, APR’s Critical Guidance for recycling is a key validation step for launching new packaging innovations in the US. We’re delighted that VO+ has been found by APR to be compatible with US recycling systems,” says James Gibson, VOID Technologies’ Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder.
“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 blending the masterbatch with PE as part of the film extrusion process, before the film is MDO stretched. The orientation process causes the VO+ additives within the masterbatch to separate from the primary polymer to create a non-breathable nano- and micro-voided structure. The combination of MDO and cavitation leads to improved film performance including puncture, toughness, and high opacity via light diffraction without the need for TiO2.
VO+ technology offers two clear 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.
VOID’s VO+ PE Masterbatch technology has been developed for specific use in polyethylene Machine Direction Oriented (MDO) film for use in a range of applications such as laminates, frozen food, wicketed bags, and flow wraps for confectionery.