Two Dow adhesive systems commonly used for a broad range of polyethylene (PE) film packaging applications have been approved as compatible for mechanical recycling following a rigorous scientific evaluation by the non-profit, cross-industry initiative RecyClass.
The approval covers solvent-free MOR-FREE L 75-300/ CR88-300 and water-borne ROBOND L-350/ CR-3 lamination adhesives, which will add an adhesive component to the REVOLOOP technology platform from Dow.
RecyClass assessments follow rigorous scientific protocols to present a comprehensive evaluation of the recyclability of plastic packaging. The assessments consider all criteria needed for a closed-loop value chain, looking at the most used technologies of sorting and recycling infrastructures. This verifies that packaging is compatible with recycling or can be effectively recycled.
Dow customers can benefit from this external validation as they apply these adhesives in their mono-material laminated packaging designs. Value-chain partners already using these well-established adhesive systems can now have an additional favorable datapoint when designing packaging for recyclability. Using these adhesives requires no changes to existing production processes, nor additional staff training, nor retooling of equipment.
“Innovation is key in furthering the circularity of plastics, but at the same time it is essential to ensure that these new packaging technologies comply with existing recycling systems. This is exactly what the RecyClass Recyclability Approval awarded to Dow’s technologies proves,” commented Fabrizio di Gregorio, technical director at Plastics Recyclers Europe. “We are delighted to work with companies like Dow and strive to support companies in implementing recyclability principles into the core of their strategic decisions.”
“Sustainability is front and center of our innovation strategy and the main focus for our industry,” said Izzat Midani, adhesives marketing manager at Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics EMEA. “I am very proud that two different technologies in our laminating adhesives portfolio have been approved for mechanical recycling by RecyClass. This enables our customers and brand owners to reach a wider scope of applications and performance requirements while facilitating packaging recyclability, which will be crucial as they strive to achieving ambitious sustainability targets.”
Victor Lebedev, associate scientist for adhesives at Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics, added: “The recyclability of laminating adhesives is essential in flexible packaging recycling. At Dow, we have been working intensively to develop internal testing methodologies at our Pack Studios in Tarragona, Spain, and Mozzate, Italy, to assess the possibility of recycling laminated mono-material structures and to mimic the commonly used coating weight of the adhesive. We are pleased that the independent third-party Recyclability Approval from RecyClass confirms our initial positive results.”
This first European approval for Dow’s adhesives products follows last year’s Critical Guidance Recognitions in the U.S. for three product categories that meet the recyclability protocols of the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR), in which ROBOND adhesives, OPULUX optical finishes, and SURLYN ionomers from Dow were each recognized for solving packaging design challenges.
The RecyClass Recyclability Approval is yet another important achievement towards Dow’s global sustainability targets. These targets align with the European recyclability targets, such as the EU’s Circular Plastics Alliance, the European Commission’s Plastics Strategy and Circular Economy Action Plan.
For example, Dow has committed, by 2035, to close the loop by enabling 100% of Dow products sold into packaging applications globally to be reusable or recyclable. Redesigning today’s multi-material structures into mono-PE ones will allow to enhance recyclability and increase recycling rates. Technologies such as machine direction and bi-axial orientation processes, barrier incorporation and PE-rich thermoforming play a crucial role to accelerate that trajectory.
The approved adhesives will be added into the REVOLOOP technology platform from Dow which is set up to help enable high-quality mechanical recycling through various product offerings in post-consumer recycled resins (PCR), and now also including adhesives, that are engineered to deliver exceptional performance for customers.