SIEGBURG, GERMANY — Siegwerk, a global provider of printing inks and coatings for packaging, announced it has developed a fully recyclable, mono-polyethylene (PE) bag for dry pet food products. The company partnered with printing machine manufacturer Windmöller & Hölscher and bag-making and machinery producer B&B to create the new high-barrier, mono-material packaging, which offers performance capabilities and is fully recyclable. 

According to Siegwerk, the European Union is increasing pressure on brands and packaging manufacturers to redesign packaging with circularity and sustainability top of mind. However, pet food packaging in particular requires certain barriers, like those resistant to oils and fats, to ensure food safety and freshness, making these types of packaging much more difficult to create sustainably. As explained by Siegwerk, complex, multi-material structures with a metallized layer are commonly used, but they fail in the sustainability aspect. 

“New approaches are needed to meet the upcoming regulatory requirements for circular packaging,” said Belal Habib, head of brand owner collaboration at Siegwerk. “The challenge is to find a recyclable design that also meets the respective performance requirements of the packaging. The problem: they are not recyclable.

“This is where innovative barrier coatings applied in thin layers and in line with regular printing inks can help to switch from an incompatible multi-material structure to a fully recyclable mono-material solution in the sense of a circular economy,” Habib said.

With this in mind, Siegwerk created its new packaging leveraging its CIRKIT GreaseBar, an inline printable grease barrier coating, and CIRKIT HeatGuard, a film coating that touts heat resistance. The coatings are solvent-based and can be printed inline without a loss in printing performance. Additionally, the inks and coatings comply with the latest recycling guidelines, including the German Minimum Standard and RecyClass for recyclable packaging.

The result is a recyclable mono-PE bag that achieves the same performance as non-recyclable, multi-material systems, according to Siegwerk, while also being fully recyclable. 

“This development success once again underlines the importance of collaborating along the packaging value chain, combining the specialized know-how of industry experts,” Habib said. “Together, we have succeeded in developing an innovation that is circular, delivers on performance and maintains current process efficiencies due to inline and high-speed conversion. This shows that, by joining forces, we are in a position to make recyclable mono-plastic packaging a reality and thus counter the still wide presence of multi-material laminated structures with future-oriented flexible packaging solutions made for circularity.”

Samples of Siegwerk’s new pet food packaging will be available at Interzoo, held in Nuremburg, Germany, from May 7 to 10, at B&B’s booth #4A-413. Additionally, Siegwerk and B&B will host a presentation entitled “Recyclable Packaging Solutions for Pet Food” on May 8 during the show.

Read more about packaging solutions and trends for pet food and treats.