ITP has developed an innovative recyclable mono-material film for fresh food packaging

date 19 January 2024

ITP created a new film after a specific request from a customer, who needed a recyclable monomaterial food packaging for rice packaging.

After meticulous materials research, ITP technicians opted for a monomaterial film based on barrier polypropylene, the sampling of which was particularly appreciated by the customer, who preferred it to that of other competitors.

The customer then approved the film together with the packaging machine manufacturer, since it was a new packaging line for a new product.

ITP was then able to start supplies in anonymous and then in printed, with flexographic technology.

The strengths of the new recyclable film

  • Research on raw materials was essential to achieve the result required by the customer.
  • The lamination-related know-how gained by ITP ensured a better result of the finished product in terms of aesthetics and performance.
  • ITP counts special know-how related to printing. In this case, it is external flexographic printing in register with tactile paper-effect finish, in addition to the internal printing between the 2 films with the graphics requested by the customer.

Verified recyclability

For the customer, the recyclability aspect was crucial, which was considered a key element for product communication to the public.

However, since there is still no clear regulatory framework at the European level with respect to which materials can be defined as recyclable, it was decided to opt for a third-party assessment, which is essential to validate the veracity of the information disseminated and to safeguard the client’s reputation with consumers by making unassailable claims about it.

ITP turned to an accredited laboratory capable of conducting a concrete test of packaging sortability, post-sorting recycling according to the normal treatments provided, and chemical and physical characterization of the recyclate obtained. The packaging made up with the new ITP film passed the tests: in fact, the sorter was able to separate the single-material polypropylene with very high recognition and conferring yield, and no criticality emerged in the subsequent treatments.

Film applications

This innovative film is suitable for rice packaging and in all cases where a barrier is needed (fresh foods requiring modified atmosphere), on vertical packaging systems, flowpacks or heat-sealing machines.

Reels are available in scalable widths and thicknesses, since it is a very versatile film.

It is digitally printable-as well as flexo-printable-for greater product customization without plant costs.

In addition to rice, the film has also been tried by a company that produces stabilized dumplings for sale outside the refrigerator, the second pasteurization of which is done after packaging. This process subjects the film to high thermal and mechanical stress, but this did not affect its performance.

Other possible uses are related to the packaging of legumes, cheeses, fresh pasta, and convenience foods.

The very high transparency and gloss characteristics of this film make it particularly suitable for packages that include “windows” through which the contents are made visible.