British consortium HiBarFilm2 has welcomed flexible packaging developer Parkside Flexibles as its latest partner.

Officially launched in March, the HiBarFilm2 project seeks to develop high-barrier monomaterial flexible films for food contact packaging applications.

Funded by the UK Government’s Innovate UK agency, the consortium aims to build on the success of the HiBarFilm feasibility study project and continue the development of mono-material films.

These materials can provide similar barrier performance to that offered by existing multi-material packaging films.

According to Parkside, the multi-material films that are currently used extensively in food and medical packaging are among the most difficult plastic products to recycle.

They feature several layers of different plastics that are combined, meaning they cannot be recycled economically.

Even if the films are recycled, the recycling streams are often compromised due to the mix of materials.

Although these films represent nearly a quarter of all consumer packaging, only 6% of this is currently recycled.

Parkside said that HiBarFilm2 will be developed by mixing a plasma-functionalised nanomaterial directly into the polyolefin before filming.

Parkside Specialty Packaging divisional sales director Paul McKeown said: “Our company thrives on innovation, so this partnership is a natural fit for us.

“With the combined expertise of the HiBarFilm2 consortium, we are confident that we can create a sustainable, high-performance film technology that will be at the heart of packaging design for years to come.

“We are looking forward to lending our packaging expertise to the consortium as we develop this revolutionary new mono-material.”

The HiBarFilm2 project is funded by Parkside together with Bangor University, BASF, Haydale Composite Solutions, Recycling Technologies, Wells Plastics, Dunbia, Cambridge Nanomaterials Technologies and Fre-Energy.

Earlier this month, Parkside partnered with supermarket chain Iceland to develop recyclable paper packaging for frozen food.