The Procter & Gamble Co., Cincinnati, has filed a patent on a better, more sustainable way to save film and package costs other than to reduce film caliper. The key is to use a foamed film made in part or whole with renewable, recyclable and/or biodegradable materials.
The patent filing published a month ago points out the extensive use of polyolefin (i.e., polypropylene, polyethylene and polyethylene terephthalate) as a family of reliable packaging polymers that provide clarity, strength and product protection for pouches, bags, labels and wraps. Downgauging of polyolefin substrates to reduce material and costs can be problematic in potentially weakening the package structure to a point that can compromise needed features such as an easy-tear opening and other functional aspects.
P&G’s proposed solution is to employ a film made from a renewable polymer that can be foamed as a thin layer with gaseous bubbles or cells. According to the patent, the foamed thin film includes a bio-based content of between about 10% and 100%, a caliper of between 10 and 250 microns, and a density reduction of between 5% to 50% compared to non-foamed film of about the same caliper.
While foamed polymers are nothing new, targeting a renewable material in this manner brings something new to the packaging table that’s a healthier alternative for the environment.
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