Mondi’s mono-material retort pouches

Mondi partnered with NTCP in the Netherlands to prove effective sorting of its plastic packaging during the recycling process

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Mondi
Mondi’s mono-material retort pouches evidence effective sorting during recycling. Photo Mondi

Mondi has carried out a series of tests to prove its mono-material polypropylene (PP) pouches and rollstock material can be sorted into their appropriate recycling streams.

Implemented in collaboration with the National Test Centre Circular Plastics (NTCP) in the Netherlands, these tests, simulating realistic packaging waste management conditions, were designed to determine the sortability of Mondi’s recyclable mono PP packaging. Using state-of-the-art technical set-ups, the tests were carried out on pre-made retort and standard pouches, spouted pouches, and top web and thermoformed semi-rigid tray material. These are made from mono PP-material and used for demanding applications that require high barrier protection, such as wet pet food or processed meat.

Replicating real-life scenarios, the tests prove that Mondi’s top web and thermoformed semi-rigid trays are successfully sorted into the correct recycling stream. Mondi’s pre-made pouches were also detected accurately, setting the standard for sorting streams that still need to be developed throughout Europe, supporting high-quality input for plastic recycling processes.

Thomas Kahl, Channel manager FMCG and Industrial at Mondi Flexible Packaging, says, “To achieve the plastic recycling targets defined in the revised PPWD, the sorting and recycling of plastic waste must be significantly improved. As a market leader, we are strongly committed to contributing to this target by testing the sorting performance of our packaging. The outcome of the tests shows that our mono-material polypropylene packaging is recognized and categorized into the correct sorting stream in advanced waste management facilities. We are particularly proud that we also succeeded in demanding applications such as retort wet pet food pouches.”

The tests are part of Mondi’s ambitious Map2030 sustainability commitments to deliver circular-driven solutions with innovative packaging and paper solutions, keeping materials in circulation and preventing waste. Mondi has pledged to make all of its packaging and paper solutions reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, working closely with cross-value chain collaborations like Ceflex and 4evergreen, to eliminate unsustainable packaging and develop harmonized designs for recycling or circularity guidelines.

Marcel van Eijk, research and development manager at NTCP, says, “We conduct independent tests and experiments that contribute to closing the plastics cycle. By replicating real-life situations for Mondi, we were able to thoroughly assess the sortability of its packaging products. We could prove that top-web and tray combinations can be recognized in different sorting streams and Mondi’s stand-up pouches support sorting strategies that need to be developed and implemented at a larger scale.”

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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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