Bobst, UPM and Michelman – oneBarrier FibreCycle food packaging

Sustainable solution for food packaging

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OneBarrier FibreCycle pouch|Bobst
Sample of the oneBarrier FibreCycle pouch shown at the Bobst annual press event on 8 June Photo: PSA

On 15 June, Bobst hosted a webinar to discuss a high-barrier, sustainable, fiber-based food packaging solution, developed in conjunction with Michelman and UPM Specialty Papers. Bobst also gave a sneak preview of the solution, called oneBarrier FibreCycle, at its annual press event held on 8 June at the Competence Centre at Mex near Lausanne in Switzerland which we attended.

oneBarrier FibreCycle’s base substrate is UPM Solide Lucent, a recyclable kraft paper. The paper’s smoothness, porosity, and mechanical performance make it an excellent foundation for achieving optimum barrier properties.

The coating system is developed by Michelman. This single base coating provides oxygen, moisture, and mineral oil barriers, oil and grease resistance, and print receptivity, while aiding the metallization process. This mitigates the need for additional, separate coatings at the priming step and helps to maintain recyclability and food contact compliance.

Ecosystems to develop the sustainable solutions

During the webinar, Sara Alexander, marketing and communication manager flexible packaging at Bobst talked about how the oneBarrier FibreCycle solution came about. She said that the idea of a sustainable flexible packaging solution germinated in response to the industry’s pledge to make 100% of their packaging material recyclable or reusable by 2025.

“At Bobst, a series of ecosystems were formed, composed of different industry players. We have been working very hard on multifaceted R&D activities to develop and define new processes, new materials and new packaging structures,” Alexander said.

She informed the audience that Bobst first analyzed the current global market trends and developments for sustainable flexible packaging. “And then we grouped them into three main pillars,” she said.

Info side of OneBarrier FibreCycle
Information side of the sample oneBarrier FibreCycle pouch shown at the Bobst annual press event on 8 June Photo: PSA

The three main pillars of sustainable flexible packaging are mono-material polymer based solutions either PP or PE, mono material fiber based structures and compostable or biodegradable solutions.

“We have been working with these partnership ecosystems to find solutions that fall under these three pillars. In 2021, we launched oneBarrier PrimeCycle which is full PE, mono material, high barrier EVOH free, transparent solution. It is a high barrier alternative to metallized polyester film. And today, following a clear shift in demand for more paper based packaging options, we are unveiling oneBarrier FibreCycle. At the same time, we are working on more solutions with different ecosystems and partnerships such as development of home compostable packaging options,” Alexander said.

Janne Varvemaa, director of product and technology at UPM, gave a detailed presentation about the properties of UPM Solide Lucent paper. He said that the paper is a very versatile specialty kraft paper with properties like smoothness, density and high strength. It enables light weight and uniform coating, offers excellent runnability, folding performance and helps in high barrier packaging solutions through co-creation.

Varvemaa said that the UPM Solide Lucent paper is especially suited for single-packs, wraps, bags, pouches and sachets. “Solide Lucent is a sustainable solution for responsible operations,” he said.

Thierry Van Migem, business director, printing and packaging, coatings and industrial manufacturing at Michelman talked about the technical aspects of the coating system.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

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As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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