The cross-sector project ‘Recyclate Initiative’, organized by companies from the plastic, ink and recycling industries, has reached an important milestone confirming that the recycling properties of BOPP laminates can be significantly improved by using the appropriate ink systems.
The result is a high-quality granulate with properties comparable to virgin material, that can be further processed for use in various industries.
Ink has a demonstrably significant impact on the quality of recyclate. Previous use of a standard NC ink system did not deliver the desired results. Decomposition products discolor the regranulate and significantly deteriorate the mechanical and sensory properties.
Dr Christian Schirrmacher, technical representative for hubergroup Print Solutions, commented: ‘Our first challenge was to understand the recycling process on a chemical and physical level. Subsequently, in the second phase of the project we developed laboratory methods in order to find raw materials that meet the complex requirements of this process. From this information, we were able to determine suitable ink formulations.’
By switching to a polyurethane-based ink system, Gecko Platinum Flexo, the Kirchheim printing ink manufacturer made a major contribution to the success of the project. The Gecko Platinum ink series from hubergroup, which was specially developed for demanding applications in the sterilizable packaging sector, can withstand the high temperatures used during the regranulation of polypropylene foil due to the PU technology. According to the company, thanks to the ink stability, the regranulate retains its high-quality material properties, which are comparable to those of virgin material.
‘We are proud to be part of this initiative and to be able to celebrate these initial successes today. This achievement was only possible due to cooperation throughout the supply chain and by combining the knowledge and expertise of every individual,’ said Schirrmacher.