Knowledge sharing key for packaging innovations along plastics value chain / Latest Recoup case study
UK recycling organisation Recoup (Peterborough; has highlighted the effectiveness of cooperation between pack manufacturers, packer-fillers, and retailers to improve the recyclability of meat packaging, but it warned that lessons learned should be shared more widely.

In a new Recyclability by Design case study on bacon and meat packaging, Recoup said the work carried out by a product manufacturer to improve the sustainability of the packaging often ran the risk of going unnoticed, or at worst lost completely.

“The staff at the manufacturer have the knowledge of packaging, which is suitable for the processes, while also conscious of the need to address wider issues, such as recyclability,” it said. But while the cooperation was invaluable, often the experience gained in the process was restricted to the packer-filler, it explained.

Related: Recoup calls for better packaging information

Recoup said meat trays fitted with a polyethylene layer – to ensure the top film attaches and seals correctly – can contain an EVOH barrier between the PE layers to provide an oxygen barrier and protection against bacteria.

However, the combination of different, inseparable polymers makes this format difficult to recycle, it added. “PET/PE trays are classed as not recyclable … depending on the type of packaged protein, thermoformed trays would also include an absorbent pad to collect the meat juices.” The group noted that the pad is not always removed by the consumer, meaning it is left in the tray, which contaminates further recycling.
Meat tray developments highlight need for dissemination of information
Innovations in the sector created meat trays that capture and retain the liquid without the need for the absorbent pad. This means the new PET tray can be rinsed and recycled.

The latest case study highlights the work of pork producer Pilgrim’s UK (Warwick; with local retail chain Co-op (Manchester;, and German packaging specialist Klöckner Pentaplast (kp, Montabauer;

Recoup said the study demonstrated “the improvement of meat packaging recyclability through changing to a mono rPET base film without a PE sealing layer as a packaging solution”.
04.10.2022 [251283-0]
Published on 04.10.2022

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