Mars to use circular PP plastic model in pet food brands

Tuesday, 17 November, 2020 | Supplied by: Mars Food Australia

Chemical manufacturer SABIC announced that its polypropylene (PP) film will be introduced in pet food brand packaging by Mars, Incorporated.

The PP film structures are manufactured by packaging producer Huhtamaki and adhere to SABIC’s certified circular PP model, made by the feedstock recycling of used plastics.

The joint initiative will help the partners implement their targets of reducing the volume of fossil-sourced plastics and accelerate the transition to a more circular plastics economy.

Barry Parkin, Chief Procurement and Sustainability Officer at Mars, Incorporated, said the littering of plastic packaging on our land and oceans is unacceptable, and the company is committed to addressing this problem.

“To do this, we need to reduce packaging we don’t need, redesign the remaining packaging to become circular and invest in closing the loop and helping scale up recycling systems,” Parkin said.

“Through our partnership with Huhtamaki and SABIC, we will test and learn, progressively increase the recycled plastic content in our packs and ultimately help drive circular packaging systems.”

Following a successful pilot phase in 2020, Mars will incorporate circular PP polymer from SABIC’s TRUCIRCLE portfolio in the primary packaging of some of its popular pet food brands.

The PP food-grade material is produced through the feedstock recycling of low-quality, used mixed plastic that could otherwise be destined for incineration or landfill.

It takes difficult-to-recycle used plastic back to the molecular level through a process called pyrolysis. This technology breaks down used plastic by heating it at a very high temperature in an oxygen-free environment, producing pyrolysis oil.

SABIC uses pyrolysis oil for the production chain, just like fossil-based feedstock, to deliver new materials that can address strict quality requirements, such as certain hygiene standards for food packaging.

The resulting PP polymer is verified and authenticated under the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC PLUS) scheme, which uses a mass balance approach.

SABIC’s certified circular products from the TRUCIRCLE portfolio offer a carbon footprint reduction of 2 kg of CO2 for every kilogram of polymer produced based on the diversion of post-consumer used plastic from incineration.

Charles Héaulmé, CEO of Huhtamaki, said the company is fully committed to playing its part in building a circular economy across the value chain and partnering with others to do so.

“Our strategic partnership with Mars and SABIC is a great example of how collaboration can result in breakthroughs that deliver significant progress in our journey to designing 100% of our products to be recyclable, compostable or re-usable by 2030,” he said.

“Our new flexible BOPP packaging structure with certified recycled food-grade PP polymer is an important milestone on our journey towards achieving that more than 80% of the raw materials we use will be either renewable or recycled.”

Likewise, while Mars is piloting SABIC recycled content in Europe in 2020, the company plans to increase volumes used in 2021 with ambitions to other brands.

Mars said it sees this as a major step in the company’s sustainability strategy, targeting the use of 30% recycled content across its packaging portfolio and a 25% reduction of virgin plastic by 2025.

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