What the jury said:
Climate change is acknowledged as one of the greatest threats to humanity. A functioning circular economy is a vital instrument for reducing the greenhouse gases that cause climate change and thus limiting the rise in temperature. When it comes to packaging, the challenge is often that necessary functions of the packaging such as protection against spoilage or information obligations compromise the recyclability of the packaging. Colour residues and non-material barriers restrict the use of the recyclate in many applications.
Five companies from the end-to-end process chain (PE manufacturer ExxonMobil, film producer Krauss, ink manufacturer Siegwerk, adhesive producer Henkel and machine manufacturer Windmöller & Hölscher) took on this unsolved problem and set out to develop a system whereby the packaging ultimately becomes colourless, high-quality recyclate again.
This submission to the German Packaging Award has achieved this in an outstanding way. By using a highly effective printed oxygen barrier in combination with a new type of primer for delamination and de-inking, as well as an adhesive certified for this process, a mono-PE packaging with an internal barrier and colour layer has been produced to meet the highest demands. After an alkaline aqueous hot wash – already standard practice in PET reprocessing – it becomes transparent mono-PE again during recycling.
This technology, which now also allows internally printed laminates to become high-quality recyclate again in material recycling, has set another milestone on the path towards a fully functioning circular economy.