Image source: Marjan Blan, Unsplash
Lidl Sweden launches PCR film for frozen foods
Thomas Reiner | 20.06.2022
Until now, food packaging with PCR content has been in vain on the market. Now the discount giant Lidl Sweden has taken the first step. According to the company, the first PCR plastic film for packaging frozen foods has been in use there since May. Even if the PCR content is “only” 30 percent and even if its use does not represent a general breakthrough for the food sector: We are witnessing a very exciting development. Because recyclability alone is not enough. The recyclates must also be used. Especially for the high-volume food sector.
Frozen cinnamon and cardamon rolls in a plastic film with PCR content: what may not seem spectacular at first glance is actually worth our attention. Because the new packaging solution from Lidl in Sweden represents a development that has no alternative for the plastic packaging sector.
The film under the microscope
- The extruded 5-layer PE film has a thickness of 50-70 μm and was developed specifically for the frozen food sector.
- According to Lidl, the multi-layer concept combines different PE layers of virgin and recycled plastic and has successfully passed special migration tests for food packaging.
- The recycled content is 30 percent.
- According to the company, the regranulates used not only meet the specifications of the REACH regulation, but also other European regulations for food contact materials.
- According to the company, the film is fully recyclable.
Who is behind the development?
The “parents” of the new packaging solution are the Lidl Future Initiative (LFI), government research institute RISE and a polyethylene film packaging manufacturer. The Lidl Future Initiatives is a sustainability project of Lidl Sweden. It provides financial support for sustainability projects. A total of around 21 million Swedish kronor (around 2 million euros) has been distributed to relevant projects so far. The source of the money is special price increases for plastic bags that Lidl had collected from its customers between June 2018 and April 2020.
On the right track
Certainly, the frozen packaging film with PCR content is a special case that cannot necessarily be applied to all food contact packaging. But even if it is not a fundamental breakthrough: the new solution is very exciting – and we will see more in this direction.
Because recyclability alone is only half the battle. We also have to put the recyclate we recover to use. The high-volume food sector in particular represents a crucial field of application here – and offers companies in the packaging industry many lucrative opportunities. The prerequisite for this is that the players recognize the opportunities and adapt to the challenges.
In doing so, they will be preaching to the converted consumer. PCR – unlike virgin plastic – is connectable.