Mondi, in collaboration with Werner & Mertz, will introduce a new, patented 100 percent recyclable pouch with detachable decorative panels in 2019. This comes after almost four years of development. The pouch will replace conventional flexible packaging for Frosch, a home care brand sold in the US and UK.
The pioneering design overcomes many shortcomings of the recycling process.
In 2014, Werner & Mertz made a bold move to develop completely recyclable packaging. This was before most FMCG companies viewed a commitment to sustainability as an indispensable building block for brand equity. The design aim of the project was to ‘reverse engineer’ the recycling process and create packaging fit for every stage of the recycling process. Sorting is a crucial and often neglected step. Failure to sort the collected packaging into material streams that recyclers can use leads to down-cycling.
The packaging also needed to be made of a polyethylene mono-material, which is a prerequisite for recycling.
Novel concept driven by team work
The team worked its way through an ‘innovation funnel’ to reach the final concept. ‘We tested different materials until a “designed for recycling concept” was conceived and resonated with everyone at each point of the value chain,’ says Jens Kösters, manager of technical services at Mondi Consumer Goods Packaging. The concept offers clear benefits related to sealing strength and maximum filling volume.
The final touch of detachable decorative panels was added to solve the issue of recycling printed plastic materials, giving the pouch a two layer finish. The outer layer is printed with the brand’s design on the front and consumer information at the back. When empty, the pouch is shredded and sorted into two components, which are sent to separate recycling streams.
The material is free from adhesive. Its spout and cap are also made of polyethylene, so the recycled material is equivalent in quality to the original material.