- The Dow Chemical Co. has announced a new type of polyethylene-based barrier packaging for items such as granola and nuts, using its new RecycleReady technology.
- Previous packaging for these types of items had an ethylene vinyl alcohol barrier that was glued to the packaging and prevented it from being recycled. The new packaging uses Dow's "RETAIN polymer modifiers" instead, which enables recyclability.
- The Sustainable Packaging Coalition — a partner on this technology — has approved it for store drop-off programs that accept plastic film, wrap, and bags. Manufacturers are currently testing the packaging now and it's expected to reach stores by the end of the year.
The polymer modifier technology was originally developed for post-industrial uses four years ago and Dow began exploring applications for packaging within the last 18 months. Before releasing the technology, Dow did many rounds of internal testing and conducted field tests at undisclosed North American recycling facilities to verify that the material could be processed smoothly.
Lamy Chopin, global development leader for Dow, told Waste Dive that while they encountered some skepticism at first, their data and the acceptance at store drop-off programs helped bring recyclers around.
"We certainly appreciate the risk that the recycling industry needs to take to accept these new advances, but we definitely want to work together with the industry and the materials manufacturers to take these new technologies forward," he said.