Barrier Technology without Hampering Paper Recycling

According to a study*) commissioned by DS Smith and Aquapak, bio-digestible barrier coatings increase paper recycling rates and fiber yield.

DS Smith, an international manufacturer of packaging and recycled paper, and Aquapak, a producer of water-soluble polymers, have been working together to find a solution to the issue of non-recyclable paper packaging. The use of paper products not suitable for recycling has increased “as the industry has moved to replace conventional, hard to recycle and single-use plastics,” the companies underlined. That means that the paperboard is rejected “because paper mills cannot process the paper and plastic combinations. Instead, they are incinerated or go to landfill.”

To provide a solution to this problem, Aquapak has developed “Hydropol”, a commercially available fully soluble, bio-digestible barrier polymer, both companies informed. The polymer could be adhesive- or extrusion coated onto paper “and brings several benefits to fiber-based packaging, including oil and grease resistance together with a high gas barrier. It is non-toxic, marine safe, dissolves in water, and subsequently biodegrades but still provides the much-needed functionality required for food, drink and household product packaging,” Aquapak and DS Smith assured.

*) For full results of the study “Considerations for process, product and environmental fate testing of soluble bio-digestible barriers for paper and board packaging”, visit

(Published in GLOBAL RECYCLING Magazine 1/2022, Page 22, Photo: DS Smith)