Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics, a business unit of Dow, and HP Indigo, Reifenhäuser, Cadel Deinking and Karlville, have debuted a first-of-its-kind pouch-to-pouch mechanical recycling concept.  

It uses a multi-stage process to contribute to a circular economy for digitally printed pouches. Starting with a polyethylene (PE)-based barrier food pouch designed for recyclability, the project team has used mechanical recycling and de-inking to create a high-quality dishwasher MDO-PE pouch containing 30% recycled contents and being itself suitable for recycling.  

The team is working on a digital product passport pilot to allow for recycling-relevant packaging properties to be recorded and to make the pouch identifiable for high-quality recycling within post-consumer waste management.

Delivering the high-quality PE-pouch has required several steps in a coordinated process with each team member applying their experience and capabilities collaboratively.

The companies also are working to add digital traceability to the pouches in line with the R-Cycle initiative, a cross-company initiative to develop an open and globally applicable traceability standard for sustainable plastic packaging.

Using special markings, usable packaging can then be identified in the recycling process and sorted into single-type fractions.