A new initiative from Sabic in collaboration with three other partners has demonstrated that certified renewable polymers are also suitable for use in in-mould labelling food packaging applications.
The four companies, Saudi chemical manufacturing company Sabic, Dubai-based Taghleef Industries and the two Greek partners Karydakis IML and Kotronis Packaging, announced they successfully produced the first mono-polypropylene (PP) thin-wall containers with in-mould labelling made from a mass balanced, certified renewable resin. According to the partners, this was achieved without compromising on quality, safety, processability, or convenience.
Both the cups and the label film used for the containers have been made with mass balance certified bio-based feedstock from Sabic’s Trucircle portfolio. The label material for the IML containers is a biaxially oriented polyethylene (BOPP) film produced by film manufacturer Taghleef using a Sabic certified renewable resin tailored to the BOPP process. Taghleef ‘s transparent, white and metallised PP label films can be easily customised to fit the customer’s needs, and all can be produced using polymers with bio-based feedstock.
Sabic said the feedstock is derived from second-generation sources not competing with food or feed production. Besides using certified bio-based PP resins for both the moulded parts and the label film, the resulting packaging can be recycled in existing rigid PP recycling streams.
In-mould labelling technology, in which the label becomes an integral component of the packaging itself, eliminates the need for separately applied adhesive labels on the finished packaging product. Decoration of the product takes place inside the mould. The label is placed in the mould, after which plastic is injected over the label. This forms a permanent, tamper proof bond between label and container right in the mould, said Augustinos Kotronis, General Manager at Kotronis Packaging. The end result is a decorated packaging part that is produced in a single step. Demand for the technology is steadily increasing, with cost efficiency and sustainability playing a key factor.
As part of the collaboration, the final BOPP label film is supplied to Karydakis, a specialist in optimised printing techniques, ink formulations, and conversion technologies tailored to PP-based in-mould labels. The company cuts the film to shape to optimise stacking and supplies the labels to Kotronis, a medium-sized family business specialising in injection moulded containers for food products.