BBIA member Aquapak Polymers Ltd is introducing HydropolTM, a library of highly functional flexible plastics that are water soluble, biodegradable, recyclable, non-toxic and FDA-approved.

Aquapak_waste-sacksDespite having excellent barrier qualities as a packaging material, HydropolTM completely degrades in standard composting and anaerobic digestion (AD) residence times; while in recycling systems it can be recovered from solution and repelletised in a closed loop.

Dr John Williams, Business Development Director at Aquapak Polymers Ltd said: “Consumers want the industry to use environmentally-benign packaging that can be composted or recycled easily. Any new plastic coming onto the market therefore needs to be both highly functional and have sustainable end-of-life options. HydropolTM has these qualities, and for brand owners and retailers, that’s a good news story.”

HydropolTM is a flexible polymer based on polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH), which is stronger than bioplastics and many conventional plastics. It has high gas and moisture barrier properties and, when modified, can provide a complete water barrier whilst remaining recyclable. As a highly functional monolayer it can replace the need for multilayer laminate packaging in a range of applications.

With the potential to replace a range of packaging plastics, HydropolTM is now available in the UK in pellet form (resin) for film manufacturers and other plastic processors.

Already being produced on a small commercial scale in Malaysia, the UK factory began manufacturing its specially-formulated plastic pellets in July 2017. The facility has the capacity for five production lines with each producing up to 6,000 metric tonnes of pellets per year. All production lines are due to be operating at capacity by the end of 2017.

Dr John Williams added: “In addition to our work with the manufacturing and retail sectors, Aquapak has been engaging with the waste management sector to discuss the benefits of this new polymer line. It can be recovered via mechanical or chemical recycling to produce pellets ready to be used in standard manufacturing processes. HydropolTM is also an ideal material for food waste bags, because in industrial composting and AD facilities, it digests rapidly with no tangling or flake in the final product.”