Lidding to Ease Recycling, Source Reduction
After a medical device company requested an all-polyester lid to ease recycling, Rollprint Packaging Products Inc. (Addison, IL) set out to develop a high-performance solution for medical, pharmaceutical, and food applications. After six months of product development converting equipment upgrades, Rollprint has introduced StreamOne lidding, a 100%-polyester structure that uses as much as 50% less material compared with traditional polyester-blend lidding.
StreamOne has been engineered to replace traditional mixed-polymer laminates without sacrificing performance when sealing to polyethylene terephthalate (PET) or polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG) trays, the company reports. Because the material is made entirely from polyester, it can be recycled in the “number one” stream, along with the tray, explains Dwane Hahn, director of sales and marketing, Rollprint. Traditional laminated combinations can only go in the “number seven” or “other” stream.
The challenge was applying sealant directly to polyester, Hahn explains. “Polyester is not stable, so we invested in extra equipment to apply a proprietary polyester sealant to polyester,” he says.
The result is thinner lidding. Traditional structures are typically 2.5 mils thick, composed of 0.5 mil polyester and 2 to 3 mils of sealant. StreamOne lidding is between 1 and 2 mils thick, with 1 mil PET and 0.5 mil polyester peelable sealant, Hahn reports. In addition, StreamOne lidding has been engineered with a wide sealing window to run on horizontal form-fill-seal units.
StreamOne can be sterilized using gamma, given its all-polyester structure. And because it was engineered to be dual-ovenable for food use, it can also withstand high-heat sterilization.
The material is being considered by manufacturers of such products as catheters, syringes, and IV connector sets.
Hahn says that Rollprint has seen an increased interest in new structures that help achieve source reduction and recycling. “In the past, companies haven’t been willing to change their specifications, but now they seem open to change. It could be the economy, but it could also be that corporations are interested in becoming greener.”
The next step will be to expand hospital recycling programs, Hahn adds. He is hoping that medical device manufacturers can help drive them.
In the meantime, Rollprint is working on StreamTwo.