Worldwide, more than 380 million 4-loop big bags (called FIBCs in specialist vocabulary – Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers) are sold every year; this equals an annual recycling potential of approx. 800,000 tons of material. To turn big bags into big bags once more, the Austrian Starlinger & Co. GmbH has now developed the circular packaging concept for big bags made from polypropylene fabric. FIBC expert Dr. Amir Samadijavan acted as consultant for this project.
With circular packaging, Starlinger introduces K show visitors to a new closed loop concept for big bags that begins with polypropylene granulate and leads back to polypropylene regranulate (rPP) through production, usage, recovery, and recycling.
In cooperation with big bag manufacturers Louis Blockx and LC Packaging, Starlinger has simulated this loop and produced new big bags from fabric with high rPP content.
A circular economy for big bags
At the beginning of a closed loop stands the creation of a uniform material stream. After use, big bags are returned to the big bag filler; this guarantees that they are similar in composition and show the lowest possible degree of contamination, as they do not enter the post-consumer stream. Apart from saving costs for raw materials, the recycling of big bags lowers the carbon footprint of this type of bulk packaging.
Plastic fabric made from rPET flakes
A the last K show, Starlinger already called attention to itself with a sustainable concept: the production of tape fabric from up to 100 % rPET flakes. This year, the company installed the first projects using this technology for production of big bags from recycled PET in Europe and Asia. “Since we have been intensively involved in the recycling and refinement of plastics for decades, the circular economy is an extremely important topic for Starlinger that is close to our business,” adds Hermann Adrigan.
PET recycling: a new life for PET bottles
Starlinger recycling technology focuses on recycling solutions that give new life to PET bottles. In the spirit of a circular economy, bottles become bottles once more: this is achieved with the Starlinger “recoSTAR PET iV+” technology. The recycling lines meet the strict criteria of various national and international authorities (e.g., EFSA, FDA) with regard to food contact as well as the quality requirements of major brand owners.
Building on the circular packaging concept, Starlinger exhibits machinery at both K show stands: a tape extrusion line starEX 1600 X in Hall 16, Stand B47, and a recoSTAR dynamic 85 C-VAC with SMART feeder and C-VAC high-performance degassing module for the recycling of post-consumer waste in Hall 9, Stand D22.