Sustainable packaging, less waste

KURARAY POVAL™ is providing knowledge and materials for the CEFLEX initiative and recycling drive in Europe

Every year, industry around the world produces 78 million tonnes of plastic packaging. Only 14 percent of this is recycled according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a UK-based organization that promotes the circular economy. More than 180 companies from various sectors worldwide have therefore come together in the CEFLEX consortium to significantly increase the proportion of flexible food and non-food packaging that is recycled in Europe. KURARAY POVAL™ is the initiative’s latest partner. Kuraray is a global speciality chemicals producer with European headquarters in Hattersheim, Germany. The Poval business is the third Kuraray business unit to become involved in this initiative – along with the Eval business unit and the Plantic™ bioplastics brand. EXCEVAL™ AQ-4104 polyvinyl alcohol, a biodegradable coating raw material marketed by KURARAY POVAL™, is a unique solution that greatly improves the recyclability of packaging materials.

The CEFLEX consortium offers us the opportunity to work with our customers in the packaging and food industries to develop high-performance packaging materials that are easy to recycle. That enables us to make a key contribution to reducing packaging waste and protecting the climate and our environment

Heiko Mack, Head of POVAL Business at Kuraray

As a leading speciality chemicals producer, Kuraray supplies starting products for high-performance, recyclable packaging for a wide variety of applications. “One example is our PVOH coating EXCEVAL™ AQ-4104. This ethylene vinyl alcohol copolymer, which is biodegradable in water, gives packaging materials such as plastic and paper an excellent barrier to oxygen, grease and oil. As it is an aqueous solution, coatings are easy to apply. Since it does not contain chlorine or solvents, it meets the stringent requirements for direct food contact uses.”

A strong initiative for a sustainable circular economy in Europe

The cross-sector CEFLEX consortium was founded in 2017 to create an efficient and sustainable circular economy for flexible packaging in Europe: from collecting used packaging, sorting and reprocessing the materials to developing materials and recycling them in packaging. Today, about 180 companies – including raw material producers, converters, brand owners and recycling firms – are working together on solutions for a circular economy. Kuraray’s Eval and Plantic business units are already part of the CEFLEX initiative. Now Poval is joining too. 

Recyclable materials for high-performance packaging

Building on its expertise, speciality chemicals producer Kuraray is contributing materials, especially for the development of new recyclable starting products. “Barrier coatings based on our PVOH brand EXCEVAL™ and extrudable EVOH products from our EVAL™ EVOH brand are high-performance materials for demanding packaging solutions. In addition, Plantic™ is a high-tech barrier film produced from up to 80 percent renewable raw materials,” says Heiko Mack. “Thanks to our close and direct collaboration with users in the packaging sector, we can tailor our high-performance materials even more precisely to the needs of the industry. Together, we create packaging that maintains the flavour and quality of food and is also optimized for the circular economy.”

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