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Recycled PE now also used for thin film

By 23 March 2021April 8th, 2021No Comments

Brightlands Materials Center has achieved stunning results in partnership with KIVO Flexible Plastics in improving the quality of recycled PE for thin film applications. This enables KIVO as one of the larger PE film producers in Europe to use this recyclate for various types of packaging, including shrink wrap and mailing bags. This is a fantastic step toward a circular economy, in which materials are reused as high up as possible in the chain.

Growing demand for film from recycled material

There is growing market demand for film from recycled material, which is why KIVO and Brightlands Materials Center are working together on this. The companies used analysis techniques to conduct research into gels in recyclate. Marnix van Gurp, Director of Brightlands Materials Center: “This research enabled us to identify the origin and mechanism of gel formation. We then used this to offer recommendations that were tested in practice and produced excellent results.”

Good step toward a circular economy

Impurities are often found in recycled material. These impurities result in “gel formation” during the extrusion process (for both flat and bubble film), resulting in irregularities as well as the occurrence of holes and splits in the film. Gel formation can directly influence the bubble film process when using films thinner than 25-30 microns. Preventing this is vital to enable the widest possible use of recyclate.

High-quality film from 8 microns

“The unique Brightlands Materials Center approach was extremely innovative” explained Theo Schilder, Director of Business Development at KIVO. “We were delighted with the result as we now know where our process does well and where we can improve. This has enabled us to use recyclate specifically for shrink wrap, mail bags or for packaging potting compost, where film now comprises up to 80% recyclate. And we can also guarantee both film quality and thicknesses from 8 microns!”

Brightlands Materials Center and KIVO Flexible Plastics

Brightlands Materials Center in Geleen is a TNO and Province of Limburg initiative. The research company has various programs, including one focusing entirely on circular packaging. Together with market parties, they are conducting research into the production of multi-layered retail packaging. Brightlands Materials Center’s team of experts specialize in polymers, mechanical and chemical recycling, Life Cycle Analyses and the development of new packaging concepts.

KIVO Flexible Plastics is one of Europe’s larger PE film producers. Its head office is in Volendam. KIVO Flexible Plastics supplies a range of products based on LDPE, MDPE, and HDPE in both mono as well as co-extrusion finishes. These include both semi-manufactured products for the processing industry as well as end products. The cooperation with Brightlands Materials Center is a fantastic example of KIVO’s aim for ongoing innovation, product development and sustainability.

Learn more about our Circular Packaging Program.