DSM, SABIC, Cepsa, Fibrant, and Viscofan co-develop novel meat packaging material made from mixed post-consumer plastics

Driven by a shared vision of sustainability and strong collaboration, DSM, SABIC, Cepsa, Fibrant, and Viscofan have, together, created a multi-barrier casing for meat products made via advanced recycling of post-consumer plastics. The transition towards recycled-based multi-layer films enables the packaging industry to adopt a more sustainable solution without compromising on functional performance.

The development of this packaging material underlines a strong commitment to enabling a circular economy by working together with partners throughout the value chain, and addresses the increasing consumer, societal and regulatory demand for more sustainable multi-layer barrier casing solutions.

Produced by Viscofan, the newly-developed sustainable casing consists of several layers of different polymers. DSM Engineering Materials supplies the high-performance certified circular polyamide (PA) Akulon CRC-MB, and SABIC supplies the high-performance certified circular polyethylene (PE)* from its TRUCIRCLE portfolio of circular solutions. Both products are based on used and post-consumer plastics which would otherwise be discarded as landfill or lost to incineration. Using advanced recycling, the used plastic is converted into new feedstock, which then enters the production chain to deliver new virgin-quality materials.

DSM Engineering Materials vice president Business Lines Performance Polymers, Jason Zhang said: “By introducing Akulon CRC-MB, DSM is taking an exciting next step in its sustainability journey. The co-development of a recycled-based film for packaging applications underlines DSM’s commitment to working closely with partners, customers and suppliers to realize a more sustainable value chain and economy.”

SABIC global circular economy leader, Mark Vester added: “We’re committed to finding innovative solutions that help to capture value from used plastic which would otherwise have been discarded. This includes collaborating with players across the entire value chain to provide access to more sustainable materials, made using our TRUCIRCLE portfolio of circular solutions, and to work towards a circular economy for plastics. We are delighted to work with partners including Cepsa, Fibrant, DSM and Viscofan to help make this vision a reality.”

The high-performance certified circular polyamide Akulon CRC-MB is produced through a strong value chain collaboration involving a range of partners applying a mass-balancing approach. Firstly, SABIC produces certified circular benzene, based on materials produced via feedstock recycling of mixed-used plastics, which is used by Cepsa to make certified circular phenol. Fibrant then uses the phenol to produce certified circular caprolactam EcoLactam, which is provided to DSM to produce its certified circular polyamide. Finally, Viscofan combines the certified circular polyethylene and polyamide to produce the multi-barrier film used to create casings for a variety of meat products.

Multi-layer barrier films inherently offer strong sustainability advantages by helping to reduce preventable food waste – which accounts for 8% of total global greenhouse gas emissions – and extending the shelf-life of food products. What’s more, using post-consumer plastics as a feedstock mitigates the depletion of natural resources, reduces the accumulation of plastic waste and improves the environmental footprint.

*The certified circular polyethylene, part of SABIC’s TRUCIRCLE portfolio, is based on materials produced via feedstock recycling of mixed and used plastic. SABIC’s uses advanced feedstock recycling technology from UK-based Plastic Energy to recover the material value of mixed and used plastic, including previously difficult to recycle post-consumer plastics, which could otherwise be lost to landfill or incineration. The waste is converted into an oil, which then enters the production chain just like fossil-based feedstock to deliver new materials without compromising on quality.