Package recyclability is a major driving factor affecting purchasing decisions by both product manufacturers and their customers. Not only does product packaging account for a significant space in landfills, but many of the current disposal methods contribute to air and water pollution.
These factors have fueled a heightened awareness for advancements in sustainable packaging. Film suppliers and packaging engineers are becoming more innovative in the materials they select and the production methods they use for packaging, and the carbon footprint they leave.
Advancements in technology are making recycling easier for consumers, waste processing plants and salvage facilities.
Tyson Foods sells consumer products and food service goods worldwide including in Mexico, where the brand has a robust product line available to consumers in grocery stores, club stores and convenience stores.
Tyson Mexico's current freezer packaging for chicken is made with a blend of polyethylene (PE) and PET. Frozen food packaging has typically demanded multi-material films to meet specialized requirements including high-tear strength, puncture resistance, cold-temperature tolerance and barrier properties, while still delivering eye-catching graphics. Unfortunately, resin blends containing these materials are less likely to be recovered in the recycling stream.
Tyson Mexico received help and expertise from Printpack, a converter of flexible and specialty packaging, and the Latin American Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics team, to create a more sustainable frozen chicken package. Together, they developed the first 100 percent PE stand-up pouch with a PE reclosable zipper. Dow's ability to establish a film formula suitable for freezer conditions in a 100-percent PE format laid the groundwork to develop the stand-up pouch structure.
Using only PE, this structure demonstrated performance equivalent to that of multi-material films. The new stand-up pouch is a completely recyclable package making it a better option for the environment.
Printpack, Dow and Tyson Mexico collaborated to develop, qualify and commercialize the new frozen chicken stand-up pouch, which launched in Mexico in May 2013.
Stand-up pouches are a consumer-friendly form of packaging that can be used in a variety of markets. Pouches give creative retailers more flexibility and new opportunities to display products in customized racks or innovative pallet displays. This form of packaging also offers consumers convenience as they are usually fitted with reclosable zippers, or some other form of open/close fitment.
An added benefit of the stand-up pouch is that it can reduce the amount of packaging material used by replacing the outdated bag-in-box format. A decrease in material also means less weight to transport and less volume to store, making significant cuts in energy consumption. With the development of Dow's 100 percent PE film resin, which can withstand the challenges of freezer storage and is also completely recyclable, the stand-up pouch can be a better choice for many markets.