X-EnviroShrink made with Sustane
What Made You Decide to Design This Product and Choose to Use Recycled Plastic Content? :
RPC bpi protec is a manufacturer, printer and converter of flexible packaging in film, with seven sites across the UK and Romania. Designing resource-efficient, sustainable and cost-effective packaging solutions has been the main driving force in the company’s new product development programmes from the very beginning. More recently this has taken on even greater significance and relevance with the major media focus on the perceived negative impact of packaging – and plastics packaging in particular – on the environment. In continuing to devise solutions to meet these concerns, RPC bpi protec’s key focus has been on meeting the needs of the circular economy, a commitment identified by our strapline ‘working towards a world where nothing goes to waste.’ Such a focus can be seen throughout the company and includes initiatives such as zero waste to landfill, closed loop manufacturing, ensuring the recyclability of products and the incorporation of recycled material into their manufacture. All this has been supported by the RPC bpi group’s position as the largest polythene film recycler in Europe reprocessing over 150,000 tonnes of waste from industrial, commercial, agricultural and domestic sources as an integral approach to the circular economy Shrink wrap for the collation and transportation of products such as beverage cans and bottles, tinned foods and cartons is an already highly efficient, lightweight and cost-effective packaging method. However, the increasing requirement to devise solutions with enhanced sustainability credentials to meet the needs of retailers, manufacturers and end-consumers required the development of a new product with additional environmental benefits setting the requirements for the development of X-EnviroShrink. This demand was also confirmed by RPC bpi protec’s own research which, through a survey of 1,000 British consumers, found that 83% were more likely to choose products with either less packaging or recyclable packaging, and 82% to use the services of a company that makes an effort to recycle and cut down waste. This underlined how sustainability is an increasingly important factor for many consumers in their purchase decisions. The new X-EnviroShrink therefore sets new standards in shrink wrap technology as it combines recycled content with 100% recyclability. Available in both unprinted and printed versions, it provides the ideal collation shrink film solution for the multi-packaging of a wide variety of consumer products in many end- markets. X-EnviroShrink contains in excess of 50% post-consumer and post-industrial recyclate, and is 100% recyclable after use, but remains comparable to virgin material in its performance and function. This new product meets RPC bpi protec’s ongoing strategy to be the market-leader in sustainable flexible packaging.
What Were They Key Outcomes and Objectives That Lead You to Design This Product? :
The first objective was to develop a shrink film that could incorporate recycled content, be fully-recyclable and support the circular economy. All this needed to be achieved while still delivering the functionality, protection and brand enhancement benefits of traditional shrink wrap. As part of this, a second major objective was to ensure that the performance of X-EnviroShrink is comparable with virgin film. This would mean that it required no additional machinery investment and offered the same manufacturing productivity as like for like products made from virgin polymer film. High-speed packing methods can continue to be utilised as a single or twin lane to help manufacturers maximise cost-effectiveness and speed-to-market. The use of high definition plates ensures a high print quality directly on the film. As a result, X-EnviroShrink is a closed loop product with an impressive ultra-low carbon footprint which is equally matched by its high performance, technical innovation and customer experience. X-EnviroShrink exceeds all UK Government targets in terms of recycled plastic content and is also manufactured to be in line with WRAP’s UK Plastic Pact initiative and The New Plastic Economy as advocated by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
Outline The Development Phase of the Design:
The most critical aspect of the development process was to identify a suitable source of recycled plastic to deliver in the new film the same performance and production benefits as a film made from 100% virgin material, while also remaining fully recyclable. This was achieved through the use of Sustane from RPC bpi recycled products, a sustainable, high performance polymer grade made from post-consumer and post-industrial waste. Sustane is a unique range of premium sustainable polymer compounds with an ultra-low carbon footprint. Made from 100% recycled plastic Sustane replaces virgin polymer – setting new standards in recycled plastic delivering the highest levels of technical performance across a wide spectrum of applications and with no compromise on quality. Developed and manufactured in the UK Sustane supports the circular economy by offering complete traceability of product as well as being 100% recyclable itself.
How did you monitor and meet the objectives that you set?
A detailed product benchmarking analysis was first undertaken to confirm the properties of standard products manufactured from 100% virgin resin. This enabled us to establish the main characteristics of any post-consumer recyclate (PCR) stream adopted for the development of X-EnviroShrink films
Controlled feasibility trials were undertaken to establish optimum percentage of PCR content that can be added to the blend. The final blend was established through a series of trials, varying recycled content, using different PCR streams and altering the base blend. Trial films were tested and properties compared against established specifications
Extended production trials then took place with the chosen blend from the controlled feasibility trials tested for extended periods on a production machine to ascertain if there were any variations in the properties of the product during this time and whether there were any processing difficulties because of the 50% recycled content in the blend.
Finally, further trials with selected customers were undertaken to monitor if the shrinking characteristics of X-EnviroShrink film is any different to the benchmark equivalents. This allowed the behaviour of film in a real production scenario to be monitored.
Where appropriate include info on research, resourcing , scope to market, material selection etc.
The development of the product was in line with RPC bpi protec’s research into favourable consumer attitudes towards packaging with a stronger environment profile.
By selecting and sourcing the Sustane polymer through sister company RPC bpi recycled products the company was provided with a guaranteed and reliable supply of material.
PE film by its nature lends itself to easy recycling. It can also be recycled many times, allowing us to develop closed-loop systems with customers.
Equally important, the incorporation of 50% recycled content ensures that X-EnviroShrink already meets Government targets for taxation of packaging and is ahead of the UK Plastics Pact commitment of 30% recycled content in packaging by 2025.
What Is Special About The Design?
X-EnviroShrink has been created to maintain all the collation and transport benefits of shrink wrap packaging manufactured from 100% virgin material while incorporating a significant element of recycled material and still be fully recyclable at the end of use. In this way it offers a closed loop packaging product and manufacturing process. For manufacturers, brand owners and retailers, it provides a clear opportunity to demonstrate their own sustainability credentials by incorporating recycled plastic content within their packaging in advance of the proposed regulations and legislation for packaging.
Please Include What In Your View Makes Your Recycled Plastic Product Innovative:
X-EnviroShrink is the first shrink film to incorporate post consumer recylate material using Sustane and be fully recyclable. In addition, because the recycled material is sourced from within the RPC bpi group, this provides a closed loop system in its manufacture that ideally meets the principles of the circular economy which are now influencing manufacturing processes. Equally important, the recyclability of the material enables us to explore closed loop opportunities with our customer base and consumers. At the same time, it is vital that any sustainable packaging solution does not compromise on the key requirements of any packaging in areas such as protection, promotion and preservation. X-EnviroShrink offers the same levels of performance and functionality as standard 100% virgin material film and in its printed version it can provide effective branding for individual products. In this way X-EnviroShrink has set a new standard in shrink film technology providing 100% recyclability with recycled content within a circular approach to packaging materials.