SABIC, a global leader in the chemical industry, has joined an innovative project with value chain partners to help UPM Raflatac launch the world’s first packaging label materials made from SABIC® certified circular polypropylene (PP) based on advanced recycled ocean bound plastic (OBP). The label materials are marketed under the UPM Raflatac Ocean Action trademark.

“We are proud to offer our customers another more sustainable choice through the advanced recycling of used plastic that could otherwise end up in our rivers and oceans,” adds Lada Kurelec, General Manager PP, PET, PS, PVC, PU & Elastomers Businesses for Petrochemicals at SABIC. “These labels containing ocean bound plastic connect with our TRUCIRCLE program of circular solutions designed to help reduce plastic waste, mitigate fossil depletion and protect our planet.”

Ocean bound plastic is abandoned plastic waste found in areas up to 50 km inland from waterways that may eventually be washed into the ocean by rainfall, rivers or tides. Zero Plastic Oceans, a non-governmental organization dedicated to addressing plastic pollution issues, has estimated that OBP from uncontrolled waste disposal accounts for 80 percent of marine plastic litter.

”The new innovative Ocean Action label material is the latest step in our beyond fossils journey. It does not only help prevent the plastic waste from ending up in the oceans but also offers brand owners the possibility to meet their recycled content targets for packaging. The Ocean Action label material is an easy-to-use drop-in solution created especially for food and cosmetics end-uses as it has exactly the same performance as the current fossil-based labels,” says EliisaLaurikainen, Business Development Manager from UPM Raflatac.

The OBP used in the project is recovered by local partners of HHI, a Malaysia based recycling company. The sustainable sourcing, proper collection and management of the OBP is certified by Zero Plastic Oceans and Control Union. HHI converts OBP into a pyrolysis oil by using advanced recycling, and SABIC uses this oil as an alternative feedstock to produce certified circular SABIC PP polymer for further processing to film by Taghleef. Then, UPM Raflatac produces the label material.

The plastic waste used in the process value chain of making Ocean Action label material is certified under the Zero Plastics Oceans program, and the final label material under ISCC PLUS. This means that the material flow is controlled and tracked from the ocean bound plastic to the final packaging following a set of predefined and transparent rules.

The Ocean Action label material is available as White and Clear Top Coated PP films with RP37, RF37, and RP74 adhesives and PET 23 PCR and glassine liners. These label materials are a perfect fit for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), such as household goods, personal care, packaged foods, and beverages. Since the certified circular PP from SABIC performs the same way as comparable fossil-based virgin PP, the switch to the OBP material solution required no changes to the film and label material manufacturing processes.

SABIC’s certified circular polymers form part of the company’s TRUCIRCLE portfolio and services for circular solutions. The offering also includes design for recyclability, mechanically recycled products, certified renewable polymers from bio-based feedstock and closed loop initiatives to recycle plastic back into high quality applications and help prevent valuable used plastics from becoming waste.