You don’t see it right away, but food packaging is quite complex. Due to diverse requirements placed on packaging, it often consists of several laminated films layers of different chemical compositions. Each of these has a specific function. The problem is: Packaging that consists of several plastics makes recycling difficult or even impossible. 

hubergroup Print Solutions, have put a lot of thought into how to enable a modern, recycling-friendly design for food packaging and found that barrier coatings provide a real alternative. Their new HYDRO-LAC GA Oxygen Barrier Coating, for example, protects packaged food from oxygen and, thus, enables mono-film packaging, which can be recycled much more easily. To take advantage of this property, food manufacturers only need to use film laminates consisting of a single type of polymer, usually polypropylene or polyethene, with a layer of oxygen barrier coating in between. Under industrial conditions, an OTR [oxygen transmission rate] of less than 10 cubic centimetres of oxygen per square metre and day can be achieved, when using polypropylene, for instance. Dr Ralf Büscher, Senior Expert Projects Flexible Packaging at hubergroup, concludes: “Our new barrier coating is ideally suitable for oxygen-sensitive food such as muesli or nuts because it protects them from atmospheric oxygen. This enables food packaging supporting the circular economy.” 

Last year, hubergroup has already launched the HYDRO-X GA Water Barrier Coating, which provides protection against water and, thereby, replaces a polyethene (PE) film lamination as a water barrier. As a result, packaging designers can choose pure paper instead of laminate structures for packaging moisture-sensitive foods such as flour or dry animal food – and the packaging can be recycled in the already well-established recycling system for paper packaging.