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Recyled stretch film
Resinex 533: there’s stretch in recycled and sustainable plastics. Recycled stretch film.
When you talk about stretch film, you’re talking about plastic which soon turns into a discussion about the developments. Many people consider plastic to be bad for the environment. But there’s another, more nuanced side to the argument, according to Hans Wels, commercial manager at AFP. Sometimes you need it because the impact on the environment would otherwise be much greater.
Take a cucumber in the supermarket, for example. “If its shelf life is longer because it’s packaged, you can ask yourself whether plastic is worse for the environment on balance,” says Wels. He feels it’s also possible to minimise environmental damage in another way. “By developing products that protect products during transport to ensure that no damage occurs. Or by developing products which use fewer petroleum-based materials, films from recycled or renewable materials.”
Research from America and Europe shows that 4 percent of products transported on pallets arrive damaged. The environmental impact of that is huge, says Wels. “Because what happens if a pallet falls down or, worse still, a truck topples over?”
The trend in the market is increasingly towards recycled materials. “Sustainability is a hot topic anyway among our customers,” says Wels. “Bigger A brands with consumer products are particularly keen to lead the way with films made from recycled or renewable materials.”
The newest film: Resinex 533
When it comes to sustainable films, there are four directions, Wels explains. First of all, a film of the future. “Biodegradable film. That doesn’t exist yet. It can’t yet be made to ensure that it’s fully biodegradable.” There’s also oxo biodegradable film, which should dissolve through oxidation if it ends up on land or in the sea. “But that doesn’t work well in practice. Which is why AFP hasn’t chosen that direction.”
The third direction is bio-based film. “We were the first to use that,” says Wels. “Our bio-based film is made up of 50 percent renewable materials, made from residual waste from sugar production.” The last direction is stretch film from recycled material. “That’s the latest film that AFP has been working on: Resinex 533.”
This is already being tested at several customers. “At the moment, Resinex 533 is made up of 30 percent recycled material. That’s a basic quality which is suitable for semi-automatic and fully automatic wrappers. We want to aim for even higher quality. That’s our dot on the horizon.”
What makes stretch film complicated is that you need to be able to stretch it, Wels explains. “Stretching has an effect on the material. This Resinex can stretch quite a long way, at least 225 percent. That’s an advantage: the more you can stretch it, the less film you need on the pallet. So far, it’s looking good.”
Smaller ecological footprint
Responses from customers have been positive. They’re very surprised, says Wels: “Particularly about the fact that we’re making a film which is comparable in terms of performance with that of conventional film.
Ultimately, you can minimise your ecological footprint with this recycled stretch film because you use less virgin stretch film. Customers are very pleased with the steps we’re taking. Because our actions really show that we take the issue seriously.”
As said before, the development of films using recycled material continues. That’s also a clear dot on the horizon for AFP. “We want to develop a high-quality stretch film which contains a high percentage of recycled materials,” says Wels. Well, work is underway.