Dow Technology Is Breakthrough for Flexible Plastic Recycling

Lighter-weight flexible packaging is taking up more shelf space in grocery aisles – for good reasons. It requires less material for production, generates less CO2 during transportation and takes up less landfill space than rigid plastic bottles, according the Flexible Packaging Association.

Plus, new flexible plastic packaging is helping consumers reduce food waste by offering pre-portioned servings, “resealability” and ready-made, on-the-go options, says Jeff Wooster, global sustainability director for Dow Packaging and Specialty Products.

But because flexible pouches and wrappers typically feature multimaterials and multilayers, recycling has proved difficult and costly. As a result, consumers often didn’t have any options than to throw multilayer plastic pouches away.

As a leader in sustainable plastic packaging, Dow is helping drive industry change by working with value chain collaborators to innovate and adopt more sustainable plastic technologies and solutions. Now our first-of-its-kind RecycleReady Technology is helping create recyclable flexible stand-up pouches that can be easily recycled through existing grocery store drop-off recycling programs.

Created through collaboration with the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) and other industry members, the new RecycleReady Technology helps converters create flexible stand-up pouches that answer consumer demand for more recyclable packaging options. Pouches with RecyleReady Technology incorporate multiple layers of material but are only made of one material: polyethylene (PE).

“This technology is a breakthrough in packaging design for recyclability. It possesses the properties of a multi-layer pouch, but behaves like a pure polyethylene bag in the recycling stream,” said Kelly Cramer, Sustainable Packaging Coalition project manager.

Introduction to RecycleReady Technology started with polyethylene pouches with low-barrier applications like dry foods, frozen foods and dry products. Since then, Dow has continued to refine the technology, which has led to enhancements including better barrier, better stiffness and higher temperature tolerances to allow an even greater variety of end-use applications.

Learn how to identify packaging with RecycleReady Technology by looking for SPC’s “How2Recycle” label.