INEOS Olefins & Polymers Europe has commissioned a new pilot multilayer, blown film line, with machine direction orientation (MDO), at its research and development (R&D) centre in Brussels, Belgium.  

This initiative is claimed to position the company as the first polymer producer globally to commission such a line, marking a significant step towards reducing landfill waste. 

The line is dedicated to the co-development of recyclable flexible packaging films with its customers.  

INEOS said that it has invested a ‘multimillion euro’ sum in this recyclable film line technology, which is supplied by the machine and system engineering company Hosokawa Alpine.  

The pilot line uses heating and stretching methods to improve the physical and barrier properties of polymer films, making them suitable for a wide range of product applications. 

This installation allows customers to conduct comprehensive tests without impacting their own production capacities.  

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The first collaborative projects are already in progress, aiming to create new films that can be seamlessly integrated into customer production lines. 

INEOS Olefins & Polymers Europe CEO Rob Ingram said: “Flexible packaging films play a valuable role in society, but we recognise and share people’s concerns about plastic waste.  

“Every day we work alongside stakeholders across the value chain who share our commitment to a circular economy, developing more sustainable solutions to consumers’ needs. Fully recyclable films are a big development and I’m excited about the possibilities created by our investment in this new MDO line.” 

According to the company, flexible films are crucial for transporting goods due to their lightweight and low-emission properties, and they play a significant role in extending the shelf life of food products.  

A key challenge with current multimaterial packaging films is that they are difficult to recycle due to the combination of different polymers, the company added.  

The new technology aims to simplify the film structure while maintaining performance, thus improving recyclability in compliance with the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation. 

INEOS anticipates that this advancement will prevent approximately one million tonnes of waste from reaching landfills annually, as per data from Circular Economy for Flexible Packaging from 2016.