PCR (Post Consumer Recycled Packaging) is one of the most sustainable flexible packaging options currently available. If you’re a European brand-owner that uses flexible packaging you should seriously consider if PCR is right for you: as it tackles not one both two of Europe’s 2025 regulations within Flexible Packaging.
And there are very few competitors for PCR Polyethylene within flexible packaging. Paper is often touted as the sustainable future. But aside from this being debatable due to its carbon footprint, it’s also just a very different product that serves an entirely different niche. So that leaves us with carton. A type of packaging that can weigh up to 500 times as much per packaged product. Take up much more volume in m2 space. And will also require you to completely replace your current packaging machinery. To top it all off carton requires more energy and water to produce (even when compared to prime PE films). In other words: PCR blows carton out of the water in this regard.
So, then the next question is simple: how much effort is it to ‘PlasticPact proof’ my company’s packaging?
And this is a logical question to ask. You’ve been successfully using prime material for years. You’ve built your brand on them. The marketing department is used to this materials look and feel. And your production parameters have been finetuned to squeeze out every last bit of optimization out of the prime material. Even worse: your margins are tight and very dependent on your current packaging materials price and output. These are just some of the reasons why a packaging switch can be so intimidating for brand-owners.
And while many of the reservations above will only be solvable with your own testing, in our experience the answer is luckily pretty simple. Flexoplast has been able to keep the performance of PCR materials close to that of prime materials (provided you keep the ratio manageable). Making the switch rather painless. Especially for brand-owners that are currently using prime PE foils, a 50% (or lesser) PCR foil can almost be considered a ‘plug and play’ substitute in our experience.
We’ve seen customers switch from prime polyethylene to PCR and be able to keep producing with the exact same parameters. In the lower ratios this goes for the production parameters, but it’s just as accurate for the purchasing costs or marketing’s product demands. It’s only once you start looking at foils containing 60% and higher that Production, that Purchasing and Marketing will have to start taking into account the differences. And the closer you get to a 100% PCR foil the more noticeable these differences will be.
In case this blogpost piqued your interest and you want to know more, consider downloading our full whitepaper on PCR. This document contains ~20 pages of Post Consumer Recycled Packaging goodies and is sure to answer all your questions!