SABIC, DSM and Viscofan Launch Innovative Multi-Layer Film for Meat Packaging Using Certified Circular Polymers

SABIC, a global leader in the chemical industry, has collaborated with DSM and Viscofan in the development of an innovative multi-barrier film for meat casings. The film combines layers of a SABIC’s certified circular polyethylene (PE) from its TRUCIRCLE™ portfolio and a circular polyamide (PA) from DSM Engineering Materials in a more sustainable packaging solution without compromising the high functional and aesthetic performance required in the fresh food packaging market.

The resulting multi-barrier packaging film, manufactured by Viscofan, a world leader in casings for meat products, is designed to help extend the shelf life of products – thus reducing the waste of food – and effectively mitigating against the depletion of fossil resources by capturing the value of used plastic as a feedstock for new food-grade materials. The solution aims to support the growing demand among end-users and consumers for packaging products that can make a significant contribution to reducing the environmental footprint in our society.

“This successful project is notable proof of our determination to partner will players across the value chain willing to share our drive in the industry for implementing a truly circular plastics economy,” states Fahad Al-Swailem, Vice President, PE Business and Sales of Petrochemicals at SABIC. “Relationships like these are instrumental in bringing commercially viable and more sustainable solutions to the packaging market. The certified circular products from our TRUCIRCLE portfolio can help support our environment and can help both packaging manufacturers and the food industry address their sustainability objectives and help stop plastic becoming waste.”

As further demonstration of collaboration across the value chain, SABIC provided certified circular benzene made from feedstock recycling to Cepsa – a global energy and chemical supplier – , who manufactured certified circular phenol that is used as a building block in production process for DSM’s circular PA. Adds Joost d’Hooghe, VP Business Line at DSM Engineering Materials: “By introducing circular PA, we are taking an exciting next step in our sustainability journey towards expanding DSM’s comprehensive materials portfolio by 2030 with a full range of bio-based and/or recycle-based alternatives. The co-development of a recycle-based film for packaging applications underlines our commitment to working closely with partners, customers and suppliers to realize a more sustainable value chain and economy.”

The certified circular SABIC PE and DSM PA polymers in the multi-layered high-barrier film casings are fully accredited under the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC PLUS) scheme which uses a mass balance approach. The certified circular polyethylene and benzene in SABIC’s TRUCIRCLE portfolio are based on used and post-consumer plastics which would otherwise be discarded as landfill or lost to incineration. Using advanced recycling, the used plastic is converted into a new feedstock, which then enters the production chain to deliver new virgin-quality materials. Mass balance accounting provides a method of asserting the recycled content in those materials along predefined and transparent rules by independent third-party laboratories.

The certified circular materials offer drop-in solutions for replacing fossil-based plastics in the packaging industry without compromising on product purity and food safety. Packaging film using certified circular PE polymer from SABIC offers an excellent balance of toughness, barrier performance and aesthetics for a wide range of flexible packaging applications. In addition, it easily lends itself to multi-layer film structures manufactured on common production equipment.

“By combining our capacity for innovation and the latest available technology, we today have reached a unique solution in the market using post-consumer recycled plastics”, Óscar Ponz, Chief Plastic Business Officer at Viscofan explains. “Today’s announcement is a result of the shared commitment to make food systems fair, healthy and environmentally friendly for a more sustainable future. This important project is being developed with the collaboration of important Viscofan customers like El Pozo.”

SABIC’s TRUCIRCLE program spans from design for recyclability services and mechanically recycled materials to certified circular products from feedstock recycling of used plastics as well as certified renewable polymers from bio-based feedstock. Read more here.

Source: SABIC, Photo: Viscofan (Sittard, The Netherlands, December 2, 2020)