SABIC, a global leader in the chemicals industry, today announced that the company has been collaborating with Unilever and Greiner Packaging in the development of an innovative new Knorr® bouillon container using SABIC® PP FLOWPACT FPC45 certified circular impact polypropylene (PP) from its TRUCIRCLE™ portfolio.
The selected certified circular polymer grade ‒ SABIC PP FLOWPACT FPC45 impact copolymer ‒ from SABIC’s TRUCIRCLE portfolio is a phthalate-free product and compliant with various European food contact regulations. It is a drop-in solution that can replace fossil-based plastics in the packaging industry without compromising product purity and food safety. Additionally, the material offers very good flowability for ease of processing on standard injection molding equipment and robust performance for high stackability. Greiner Packaging produces the containers with lids molded in the same material and supplies them together with folded cardboard sleeves. The space-saving, stackable design of the containers and lids further supports their sustainability during transport and storage before filling.
SABIC’s certified circular polymers are produced through the feedstock recycling of used and mixed plastic that could otherwise be destined for incineration or landfill. Difficult to recycle used plastic is broken down and taken back to the molecular level by heating it at a high temperature in an oxygen-free environment, producing pyrolysis oil. The pyrolysis oil then enters SABIC’s production chain just like fossil-based feedstock to deliver new materials in compliance with strict quality requirements, such as the European food contact safety standards for food packaging.
The sustainability of the resulting polymers is certified by independent third-party laboratories under the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC PLUS) scheme in a standardized mass balance approach, which provides a method of asserting the recycled material content along predefined and transparent rules. In addition, the widely recognized ISCC PLUS accreditation provides traceability along the entire supply chain, from the feedstock to the final product.
“We are very excited about participating in this joint pilot project with Unilever and Greiner Packaging,” comments Sergi Monros, Vice President of Performance Polymers & Industry Solutions for Petrochemicals at SABIC. “With our TRUCIRCLE initiative and portfolio, we aim to bring commercially viable and more sustainable packaging solutions to the market and drive the transition of the plastics industry to a truly circular economy. Partnerships with major players across the value chain help address the technical and commercial challenges along this path and meet the increasing demands of end-users and consumers for environmentally conscious packaging with less waste and less resource depletion,” Monros emphasizes and concludes: “Unilever’s Knorr® container is an excellent example of this ambitious strategy.”
The appearance, functionality and safety of the new Knorr® bouillon powder packaging is exactly the same as before and the quality is likewise as high as ever. Consumers can still simply remove the cardboard sleeve from the plastic container once it is empty before disposing and recycling of the two components as usual.
“By producing some of the containers from certified circular polypropylene, we want to set a new standard on the market together with our partners and demonstrate what is possible with recycled materials in the food segment. We also want to keep pushing forward with this development. Here at Greiner Packaging, we are not only focusing on certified recycled PP – we are also working on our first projects and tests with mechanically recycled PS,” explains Jens Krause, Sales Director at the Swiss Greiner Packaging site in Diepoldsau.
"Our goal is to continue making our packaging more environmentally conscious together with partners like SABIC and Greiner Packaging – especially in the food segment – without consumers having to lower their standards in terms of design, performance, user friendliness, stability, and food safety. Unilever is committed to cutting our use of virgin plastic in half by 2025. Turning Plastic Waste into Circular Polymer will be a key enabler in meeting that goal. We are now testing this using material produced from 100 percent certified circular polymer, with the goal of expanding across our portfolio by 2025,” says Mike Ross Senior Packaging Manager at Unilever.
SABIC’s complete TRUCIRCLE offering comprises design for recyclability services, mechanically recycled materials, certified circular products from chemical recycling of used plastics, and certified renewable polymers from bio-based feedstock.