Amcor, a global leader in packaging, in collaboration with Nestlé, today launched the world’s first recyclable flexible retort pouch. The new high barrier pouch, using Amcor’s AmLite HeatFlex Recyclable solution, will first appear in stores in the Netherlands in October 2020.
Amcor and Nestlé partnered to overcome one of the largest challenges facing the industry – the inability to recycle retort flexible packaging – and have achieved a technical breakthrough which underscores both companies’ long-term commitment to more sustainable packaging solutions. The partners collaborated during the product development process, testing for heat resistance, machine performance, shelf-life and recyclability in the real world.
“Amcor and Nestlé together have been able to create a unique solution that for years was thought impossible,” says Michael Zacka, President Amcor Flexibles EMEA, “This high-barrier, high-heat resistant, packaging can be easily recycled within plastic recycling streams already existing in several European countries.”
Flexible retort packaging is a modern alternative to metal cans, and it can improve the carbon footprint of hundreds of consumer products thanks to its light weight, resource efficiency, ease of transportation and by minimizing food waste. Adding recyclability to its list of properties will further improve the environmental footprint of this packaging solution, which has a reduced carbon footprint of up to 60%.*
The new pouch meets the packaging guidelines for a circular economy recently published by the CEFLEX Consortium. Project Coordinator and Workstream Consultant for CEFLEX, Graham Houlder, says, “This is a great example of how – through innovation – companies can solve even the biggest challenges to recyclability. Recyclable retort packaging is a revolutionary advance and will have a huge impact in pet food and beyond.”
The breakthrough innovation underscores Amcor’s unique capabilities and long-term commitment to more sustainable packaging solutions. The company is on the path to fulfilling its pledge to develop all of its packaging to be recyclable or reusable by 2025.
Notes to the Editor
The challenge with standard retort pouches is they are made of mixed-materials, typically layers of Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), Aluminium foil, and Polypropylene (PP). While high performing, this mixed-material structure is not recyclable anywhere in the world today.
Amcor and Nestle’s new solution is a Polypropylene (PP) pouch, which uses an ultra-thin AmLite transparent barrier coating for product protection.
Amcor’s AmLite barrier coating technology delivered a replacement for Aluminum, but the more recent innovation was the development of a Polypropylene film that delivers high-performance for heat processing.
The result is a pack that can withstand the pressures of heat-sterilization and provide a reliable barrier to oxygen and bacteria, keeping food safe without refrigeration for a long shelf life.
The new pouch has been independently tested by cyclos-HTP and confirmed to be recyclable. It fits collection systems in several European countries, and the list of countries is expected to grow, as plastics recycling streams are being expanded.
Nestlé’s and Amcor’s sustainability commitments made the companies a natural fit to tackle this packaging challenge together.
In 2018, both companies pledged to develop all their packaging to be recyclable or reusable by 2025, as pioneering members of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy initiative.
Additionally, Amcor has said it will significantly increase its use of post-consumer recycled material, as well as help to drive consistently greater recycling of packaging around the world.
Amcor’s 2025 Sustainability Pledge
Link to New Plastics Economy announcement
Amcor also holds a leadership role in the CEFLEX Consortium, a collaborative effort to improve flexible packaging for a circular economy. Over 160 companies have now joined.
Recent Amcor research shows 2/3 of pet owners surveyed across France, Germany, Italy, and the UK think climate change and plastic pollution are the most important environmental issues the world faces today, and 50% say they check for sustainability logos on pet food packaging to understand the impact of their buying habits on the environment.