Polyethylene flexible films form the single biggest component of all plastic packaging recycled in South Africa. Safripol uses some 500 tons of polyethylene tubular films annually as packaging material for its PP and HDPE resins.
In line with Safripol’s Let’s Plastic Responsibly Campaign, and in an effort to drive business optimisation, Safripol recently reviewed its packaging materials for its 25 kg bags. It is well known that the use of coloured pigments or dyes in plastic flexible films is undesirable for recycling, due to the impact the colour has on the finished recycled product. Using clear plastic packaging material is preferred as it maximizes recycling opportunities for many packaging applications.
Waste reclaimers therefore typically favour the collection of clear plastic packaging and they are able to earn a higher rate than the collection of coloured plastics. In line with this best practice, Safripol is migrating close to 90% of its 25 kg polyethylene bags from coloured film to clear film. In addition, only black ink with minimum printing will be used on the Safripol clear films, to further ensure that the value of the flexible films is maintained for downstream recycling.
This change over from coloured to clear films will apply to all of its Safron®, Safrene® and Advance 150/400® polymer grades. The only grades that will remain in the coloured film are the Impact® resins, which is due to the pellets being black, and hence black labelling on clear film will not be possible for this grade.
What this now means is that Safripol’s clear polyethylene tubular films will have a greater recycling potential and thereby will contribute towards advancing the circular economy for plastics in the country. Safripol will continue to come up with innovative ways to optimize the rest of its packaging materials. #LetsPlasticResponsibility