Clariant, Siegwerk, Borealis, and Beiersdorf have combined their expertise to create recyclable consumer packaging for personal care applications, based on 100% retrieved plastic packaging waste. The collaboration aimed to design a packaging solution that creates a cleaner input waste stream and finds its way back into the loop in high-value applications. It should also allow for the high-quality visuals and distinctive shapes consumers associate with cosmetics packaging and brands.
Colourless 100% PCR polyolefin bottle
To deliver on all these factors, the innovation centres on a colourless polyolefin bottle with 100% PCR  content, full body sleeved in a printed deinkable shrink sleeve.
To achieve full circularity, the packaging material needs to retain its optimal properties throughout multiple life cycles. Borealis therefore brought high-quality PCR to the project based on its Borcycle M technology, while Clariant offered expertise in additive solutions to ensure PCR quality and protect against polymer chain breakdown in each recycling step.
The result, according to the four companies, was a high-value PCR material repeatedly hit the high-end criteria of personal care packaging.
To achieve differentiation of the packaging despite using an uncoloured bottle, the four partners opted for a full body shrink sleeve. The bottle/shrink sleeve combination is intended for removal at a materials recovery facility. However, to increase the circularity of the solution, Siegwerk was able to provide inks designed to allow deinking of the sleeve.
Thus, all materials are technically fully recyclable with the potential to be recovered and used for the same application.
According to the four companies, first sorting trials in existing recycling infrastructure proved the sortability of the full body sleeved HDPE bottle, achieving a high recovery of the bottle’s material. Additionally, the project team conducted trials with full body sleeved, transparent PET bottles and achieved similar results.
However, further advancements in sorting technology are needed to truly give colourless bottles a second life back. “Technologies such as digital watermarking or artificial intelligence could help such sustainability goals to be reached,” conclude the four partners.