Sabic & Schwarz Group to start pilot project for Trucircle vegetable bags

Building a circular plastics economy

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Schwarz Group
Flexible film using SABIC’s certified circular polyethylene, being introduced into Schwarz Group’s Lidl and Kaufland retail stores in Germany as part of a pilot project. Photo - Sabic

Saudi Arabia-based Sabic, a diversified chemical manufacturer, has embarked on a pilot project with Schwarz Group, Europe’s largest retail store operator, to use transparent film bags made from certified circular polyethylene (PE) in vegetable packaging. According to the company, the project will include various PE technologies from Sabic’s Trucircle portfolio based on materials produced via feedstock recycling of mixed and used plastic. Through this project, 1 kg bags for organic carrots, made of flexible film using Sabic’s certified circular polyethylene, will be introduced between October and December 2020 by the retail group into selected stores operating under the Lidl and Kaufland brands in Germany.

Sabic’s Trucircle certified circular polymers in the pilot project include both low-density and linear low-density polyethylene (LDPE/LLDPE), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), and Super metallocene polyethylene (mPE) resins.

“Our comprehensive strategy is to make all Lidl and Kaufland brand plastic packaging as recyclable as possible by 2025, thereby reducing overall plastic consumption by 20%,” states Dietmar Böhm, managing director of GreenCycle, which serves as waste management and recycling service provider for Schwarz Group and other companies. “We strive to close material cycles and save resources.”

“We have taken a big step forward on our journey towards building a truly circular plastics economy since we produced the first virgin-quality polymer materials from mixed used plastic back at the start of 2019,” explains Stephan Eltink, director Polyethylene Europe at Sabic. “Our certified circular polymers are produced as part of our Trucircle portfolio that includes a wide range of polyethylene and polypropylene material grades, that can be drop-in solutions for applications in a variety of industries, including the food packaging industry. We are happy to welcome Schwarz Group among the growing number of downstream customers seeking to capture value from material sources that have traditionally been ignored or discarded.”

Sabic’s advanced feedstock recycling process recovers the material value of mixed and used plastic, including previously difficult to recycle post-consumer plastics, which could otherwise be lost to landfill or incineration. The waste is converted into an oil, which then enters the production chain, just like fossil-based feedstock, to deliver new materials without compromising quality.

Sabic’s Trucircle portfolio showcases the company’s circular innovations and can provide manufacturers with access to more sustainable materials, spans design for recyclability, mechanically recycled products, certified circular products from feedstock recycling of used plastic, and certified renewables products from bio-based feedstock.

With headquarters in Neckarsulm (Germany), Schwarz Group is a family-owned multinational retail group that operates grocery shops under the Lidl and Kaufland brands across more than 30 countries. With more than 80 locations and over 3,000 employees, GreenCycle is one of the leading waste disposal and recycling service providers in Germany and Europe.

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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