August 11, 2022

Recyclable PET packaging with oxygen blocker keeps products fresh longer

Placon has a barrier material that keeps oxygen out while also having the ability to be thrown into the recycling bin.

The OxyStar barrier material utilizes multi-layer PET with an oxygen scavenging agent the binds oxygen with the sidewall of the package, slowing the flow of oxygen from the outside and products staying fresher for longer. Since Placon uses PET, the product can be thrown in a normal recycling bin, resulting in less waste in landfills. OxyStar is a great packaging solution for food with high Vitamin C content, foods with high fat like nuts, meats and cheeses.

Placon’s OxyStar barrier material

To keep food fresher for longer, many companies utilize barrier materials that block oxygen (which spoils food faster) out of the food, resulting in it staying fresher for longer and not being wasted. A common barrier is ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer, also known as EVOH. EVOH is a thermoplastic that is clear and flexible with a glossy appearance. It’s usually not found on its own due to high water permeability, so companies combine it with other forms of plastic such as PET or PP that have a higher water permeability but can’t keep out gases [1].

Though EVOH can combine with plastics that are recyclable, it cannot go through the recycling system, and when mixed with those types of plastic, they also cannot be recycled [1]. EVOH gums up the recycling machines, which causes issues for the other materials that are being recycled and cause a lower quality in those materials [2]. Since EVOH, when mixed with different types of plastics, is sandwiched between two layers, recyclers cannot remove it, so the whole product has to be thrown in the trash [1].

Though it does end up in the incinerator, it doesn’t release toxins when doing so like other products, so even though it is not recyclable, it could be worse for the environment [1]. But with all the other sustainability issues, companies are looking to create a material that has the same effect as EVOH but is recyclable.

[1]EVOH Film (polymerdatabase.com)

[2]Is EVOH Recyclable? 10 Things You Should Know (Quick Answers) (citizensustainable.com)




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