New PVOH-based paper extrusion coating is 100% repulpable, adds barrier properties

HydropolTM, a new polymer based on polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH), is said to be successfully extrusion-coated onto both paper and paperboard, with proven gas- and grease-barrier properties, says developer Aquapak. Additional functionality such as heat-sealability and increased paper-sheet strength can also be imparted, making it suitable for a range of packaging applications, including bags and pouches.

Aquapak has already proven that Hydropol-coated paper is 100% repulpable in standard pulping systems and can be fully recycled. It is proven to give real improvement when set against current regulations which allow the "recyclable" label to be used if there is up to 15% un-recyclable material in the product. If littered, Hydropol is biodegradable, compostable, as well as being non-toxic and marine-safe, the company says.

Aquapak is now targeting the new CEPI testing protocol for HydropolTM to ensure it meets the most rigorous standards. The protocol has been developed in collaboration with participants from the entire paper value chain, including specialized testing laboratories. A battery of tests were carried out over a nine-month period ,which informed the improvements of the method and the development of three technical annexes.

The new methodology is particularly relevant to the paper-packaging industry. Many paper-packaging solutions already enjoy high recycling rates but are also increasingly fulfilling new functionalities. These need to be considered by brand-owners aiming to reach ever higher performance in terms of circularity and sustainability for their products. Design guidelines and evaluation protocols are developed to support value-chain members in these efforts, with the end goal to make all paper packaging recyclable by 2025 and reach a recycling rate of 90% by 2030. The updated CEPI-harmonized recyclability test method offers a solid basis for this work and allows paper products across Europe to be tested for their recyclability in identical conditions.

The new CEPI standards are based on the Italian National Recyclability Standard UNI 11743, which HydropolTM meets.