On 29 September 2020, Amcor, a global leader in packaging, in collaboration with Nestlé, launched the world’s first recyclable flexible retort pouch. Amcor and Nestlé’s recyclable packaging improves consumer packaging’s carbon footprint by up to 60%* starting with wet cat food. It is likely to be extended to consumer food products requiring high moisture and oxygen barriers and heat resistance. Using Amcor’s AmLite HeatFlex Recyclable solution, the new high barrier pouch will first appear in stores in the Netherlands in October 2020.
Amcor and Nestlé partnered to overcome one of the considerable challenges facing the industry – the inability to recycle retort flexible packaging – and have achieved a technical breakthrough which underscores both companies’ long-term commitment to more sustainable packaging solutions. During the product development process, the partners collaborated, testing for heat resistance, machine performance, shelf-life, and recyclability in the real world.
“Amcor and Nestlé together have been able to create a unique solution that for years was thought impossible,” says Michael Zacka, president of Amcor Flexibles EMEA. “This high-barrier, high-heat resistant, packaging can be easily recycled within plastic recycling streams already existing in several European countries.”
Flexible retort packaging is a modern alternative to metal cans. It can improve hundreds of consumer products’ carbon footprint thanks to its lightweight, resource efficiency, ease of transportation, and minimizing food waste. Adding recyclability to its list of properties will further improve this packaging solution’s environmental profile, which has a reduced carbon footprint of up to 60%.
The new pouch meets the packaging guidelines for a circular economy recently published by the CEFLEX Consortium. Project Coordinator and Workstream Consultant for CEFLEX, Graham Houlder, says, “This is a great example of how – through innovation – companies can solve even the biggest challenges to recyclability. Recyclable retort packaging is a revolutionary advance and will have a huge impact on pet food and beyond.”
The breakthrough innovation underscores Amcor’s unique capabilities and long-term commitment to more sustainable packaging solutions. The company is on the path to fulfilling its pledge to develop all of its packaging to be recyclable or reusable by 2025.
*Carbon footprint comparison based on Amcor’s ASSET lifecycle assessment system, certified by the Carbon Trust. A maximum carbon footprint reduction of 60% assumes 100% recycling. Comparison based on standard retort packaging using a PET/Aluminium foil/PP pouch, versus the new AmLite HeatFlex Recyclable OPP/AmLite barrier/PP pouch.