Next time you take a trip to the grocery store, notice all the different types of packaging used to protect and brand your favorite products. Some packages, like pasta boxes, are simple and easily recyclable, while others, like frozen dinner packages, require multiple layers and are more complex in terms of composition and recyclability.
There is a growing demand among consumers for more sustainable packaging. Over 50 percent of customers take sustainability into account when making a purchase, and younger customers are especially swayed by green solutions, with 83 precent saying they’re willing to pay more for a sustainably packaged product.
What is and isn’t sustainable can be a source of confusion for shoppers, as many types of plastics aren’t recyclable. Packages that may appear to be paper-based may use a layer of polyethylene as a barrier, which recycling facilities are often not equipped to recycle. This is not only a problem for us humans, but also our pet food packaging.
JONCRYL HPB 1631-A is a new water-based copolymer emulsion that can help solve this problem by offering effective barrier performance while maintaining paper and paperboard repulpability.
Effects of moisture on packaging
One of the most persistent and damaging forces that can undermine a paper or paperboard package’s effectiveness is moisture, or water vapour. Moisture entering the package can reduce the product’s shelf life and lead to food spoilage, tarnishing the brand in addition to the obvious negative aspects for the consumer.
The Moisture Vapor Transition Rate, or MVTR, is the measurement of the amount of water vapor that permeates through a substance over a given time and is used to determine a package’s effectiveness in keeping out moisture.
“Many consumers believe that packaging is a formidable wall, but that is not the case,” says Kimberly Wilson, Market Segment Manager at BASF. “Paper has a lot of characteristics that allow moisture to cross through the fibers of the paper or the paperboard itself. That’s why MVTR is so important, because when you can have a barrier coating applied to paper, it will prevent that moisture from penetrating through the package and spoiling the food within.”
Keeping dry foods dry can be a big challenge, especially in tropical climates. On the flipside, some packaged wet food products such as seafood, pet food, cheese and baked goods require a certain moisture level inside a package to stay fresh.
Without an effective protective moisture barrier, the product will rapidly lose or gain moisture to seek equilibrium with the environment around it. Several factors play a role in a package’s MTVR, including barrier material thickness, the polymers and resins used, additives, and processing.
Introducing JONCRYL HPB 1631-A
As of now, most of the packaging for moisture-sensitive goods and food products is composed of layers, some of which include metals or plastics. So, how can packaging manufacturers provide an effective paper-based solution for customers demanding more sustainable solutions?
“Plastic-based materials have historically performed the best in providing an MVTR barrier, but there are increasing sustainability concerns around many of these plastics, especially in single-use cases,” says Wilson. “Many industries are looking for alternatives that are more sustainable through paper-based solutions, where we can achieve a similar performance that multi-material barriers have provided in the past by using fiber mono-material with a barrier coating applied to it.”
This is where JONCRYL HPB 1631-A can help. It was specifically designed to provide a low MVTR when applied to paper and paperboard packaging wherever moisture resistance is a key requirement and is glycol ether-free.
In MVTR testing, in which moisture permeability is measured for a test sample in a controlled environment, JONCRYL HPB 1631-A offered an MVTR of only 7 g/m2 per day, compared to 26 g/m2 for a standard polyethylene-extruded board — a 73% decrease.
“Preventing food from spoiling is important, especially with all the supply issues that we're having now,” says Joshua Kempfer, Technical Specialist at BASF. “Having a better MVTR means that if your product does takes longer to get from farm to shelf, you have that moisture resistance, so your product stays fresh a little bit longer, and there's less waste and costs in the supply chain because of that.”
JONCRYL HPB 1631-A also provided low COBB values in the COBB test, in which a spot of water is added on a sample substrate to determine water absorption after a set period. It also offers low-VOC capabilities.
Some companies have already switched completely to paper-based solutions, and the global barrier-coated flexible paper packaging market is expected to reach a market value of around $70.9 million by 2027. Let’s look for a general industry link. I don’t want a link to a specific player in the value chain.
“If you have a package with three or four layers, it can be very difficult to recycle. If you change to using only one material with a water-based coating, it can improve that repulpability,” says Kempfer. “The end goal is to replace some of these multilayer packages to improve sustainability.”
While JONCRYL 1631-A’s food contact approval makes it an attractive alternative for coatings in food packaging, it can be used in virtually any segment of consumer goods to provide a safe and sustainable moisture-resistant package.
“There are opportunities to substitute sustainable packaging in anything from dry cereals, grains and oatmeal, candy, and chips and other snacks,” says Wilson. “Even less conventional foods like fresh fruits and vegetables can make use of paper packaging, and non-food items that need a moisture barrier can make use of this technology as well. The possibilities are limitless.”
JONCRYL HPB 1631-A is a new product available now in North America and Europe. To request a sample, visit the link below.
More about JONCRYL HPB 1631-A
JONCRYL HPB 1631-A Value Card PDF