Engineering Materials

The world’s first gluten-free bread packaging is made from certified circular plastics

Currently the recycling of plastics in Europe is mainly carried out by means of mechanical processes, however the recyclate obtained is not suitable for use in food contact packaging due to migration, hygiene and performance issues. This is where advanced recycling comes in—it plays an important role for food packaging because it allows for post-consumer multi-layer packaging waste to become recyclable and fit for use again in food packaging. The recyclate obtained from advanced recycling meets the requirements and standards for use in critical food contact applications.

When it came to packaging of their gluten-free Panini Rolls, Dr. Schär’s wanted to use an environmentally-friendly plastic, since they not only focus on healthy and nutritional baked product – they also focus on sustainability and circularity. Dr. Schär, a front-runner in the packaged bread industry, has launched the certified advanced recycling innovation for sensitive food application as produced and developed by Niederwieser Spa, a food packing specialist, and its extrusion subsidiary VF Verpackungen GmbH. Both companies have a shared vision of a sustainable future and strive towards a circular economy.

A sustainable and circular choice

Dr. Schär made the choice to use an innovative material made from the advanced recycling of mixed post-consumer plastics, and so can you. While the number of advanced recycled quantities available today is very limited and the process is somewhat more complex, the quality is equal to that of virgin material and therefore suitable for sensitive food application. The packaging used for rolls is a certified circular plastic multi-layer film for sensitive food application—the world’s first gluten-free bread packaging made from circular plastics.

This sustainable packaging solution utilizes DSM’s Akulon® PA6 CRC-MB, as a barrier layer, to maintain taste, quality, and safety of bread products. It is made with the certified circular plastic from the advanced recycling of mixed post-consumer plastics. The packaged panini rolls will be launched throughout Europe in late 2021.

Akulon PA6: a sustainable and low carbon footprint solution

Our fossil based Akulon PA6 already comes with lowest carbon footprint in the market enabling our customers to reduce their carbon footprint. Polyamide (PA) high-performance multilayer films are a sustainable choice as they prevent food losses while the use of plastic materials can be reduced by over 50% compared to mono layer plastic packaging solutions. Overall, this results in a better life cycle impact profile for PA multi-layer films.

Polyamide is a unique engineering polymer that meets the highest standards when it comes to high-barrier food film properties:

  • Very good mechanical properties, which avoids damage during production processes and supply chain towards the end customer.
  • High barrier properties, protecting the food from oxygen from the outside and keeping food aroma in the packaging.
  • Optimal thermal properties for production processes, handling and cooking conditions.
  • Easy processing in existing conversion equipment in combination with other polymers in the film structures.
  • PA based barrier food packaging is both mechanically and chemically recyclable.
  • Mechanical recycling, of multi-layer barrier food films is possible up to percentages far above those present in post-consumer waste. Furthermore, it is an efficient way to re-use plastics that would normally go to incineration or landfill, the limitation of mechanical recycling is that the recyclate obtained is not suitable for food packaging applications.
  • In case of advanced recycling, mixed plastic waste, including PA, can be transferred via pyrolysis into oil and after a purification step used as waste-based feedstock to produce polymers with virgin food contact quality again, enabling a full circular solution.

Circular economy solutions: Akulon CRC-MB and Akulon B-MB

Next to our fossil based Akulon PA6, today we already have biobased mass balanced* Akulon® PA6 B-MB and chemical recycled mass balanced* Akulon® PA6 CRC-MB available. Our Akulon® PA6 B-MB enables our customers to reduce their carbon footprint even further and on top of that supports de-fossilization of our industry as it substitutes the need for fossil resources. In addition to that, Akulon® CRC-MB provides a purposeful end-of-life solution to mixed plastic waste by using it again as a feedstock instead of leaving it to landfill or incineration. Both Akulon® B-MB and Akulon® CRC-MB come with the same properties as the existing fossil-based alternatives, providing a drop-in sustainable solution even for critical food contact applications.

Contact us today or visit Plastics Finder to learn more.

*Mass balance accounting is a well known approach that has been designed to trace the flow of materials through a complex value chain. The mass balance approach provides a set of rules for how to allocate the bio-based and/or recycled content to different products to be able to claim and market the content as ‘bio’-based or ‘recycled’-based. Source: Ellen MacArthur Foundation's Network (Mass Balance White Paper).

Published on

05 January 2022


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Kim van Neer

Sustainability Program Manager at DSM Engineering Materials

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