A Birmingham-based firm has unveiled what it called a “major new green plastics technology” which it claimed has the potential to transform mainstream packaging applications.
Aquapak Polymers, headquartered in the Kings Norton district of the city, has invested £4m and spent five years developing a portfolio of “fully recyclable mono-material polymers”, which it said was suitable for a wide range of packaging applications including food, paint, coatings, and electronics.
A spokeswoman said the firm was in the middle of building a 5,500 sq metre factory, which would employ around 70 people and from early next year would produce annually 30,000 tonnes of pellets used in the new film.
The firm said the product range had been based on a suite of patented technologies and “rigorously tested, coming out as superior to regular, comparable plastic films in terms of both strength and impact”.
Aquapak claimed it had multiple use capabilities, excellent barrier properties, was anti-static and impervious to most solvents, oils and gas. It added that the material was fully recyclable within existing waste streams, biodegradable, compostable, water soluble, and “completely harmless in marine environments”.
The company said it had designed the pellet and process so it would work with most standard polyethylene equipment “in order to minimise additional capital expenditure for blown film producers”.
Mike Everard, the company's managing director, said: “We strongly believe Aquapak's range of super polymers can replace many of the current industry standard materials at comparable cost with, often enhanced, functional performance in a number of sectors.
“Food packaging is one of the first commercial applications being tested. The material is FDA approved and capable of significantly extending the shelf life of certain foods due to its superior barrier properties.
“The film is biodegradable in both aerobic and anaerobic conditions and therefore perfect for food packaging and food waste collections as it does not need to be separated from the collection bag.”
Paint packaging was another commercial sector that the company is focusing on, it said.