The Coathink® technology developed by SAES Coated Films is approved as compatible with the flexible, coloured polyethylene (PE) recycling stream based on tests performed by an independent laboratory, in accordance with the RecyClass Recyclability Evaluation Protocol for PE films.
This technology is a high oxygen barrier, water-based coating applied on PE-based multilayer laminate packaging. Barrier properties are achieved with the presence of polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH) in the formulation. Laminates using ‘Coathink®’ are mainly suitable for food, personal care and industrial flexible plastic packaging applications.
The recycling compatibility was evaluated at Aimplas in accordance with the RecyClass Recyclability Evaluation Protocol for PE films. Recyclability assessments were performed for both a mono-layer PE film with ‘Coathink®’ applied as surface coating and for a PE laminated structure incorporating ‘Coathink®’. While the coating surface can be washed off from a mono-layer film during the recycling process, the final results were the same for both of the evaluated structures.
The laboratory results show, that ‘Coathink®’ conforms to the current European coloured, flexible PE recycling stream provided it is used under specific conditions, which among others, determine the amount and nature of laminating adhesive, coating and inks.
The assessment also shows that the plastic material generated via the recycling process may be used in high-quality applications such as PE blown film with up to 25 wt.% of this technology.
The testing of this technology exemplifies the efforts of the plastic industry in designing high performance barrier PE films that are compatible with dedicated recycling streams.