Sustainable woven plastic packaging solutions at Interpack 2023

Austrian machinery supplier Starlinger & Co Ges.m.b.H. will showcase its innovative solutions for sustainable plastic packaging at Interpack 2023.

Starlinger & Co Ges.m.b.H. is set to showcase its sustainable woven plastic packaging solutions, including closed-loop recycling systems and innovative manufacturing technologies, at Interpack 2023.

Angelika Huemer, managing partner, highlighted the importance of closed-loop systems for plastic packaging. She said: “Closed loops for plastic packaging are not only a prerequisite for counteracting environmental pollution and constantly growing mountains of rubbish, but also to conserve resources.”

She added that Starlinger had developed solutions to close the loop for woven plastic packaging, such as using recycled PET or polypropylene in manufacturing big bags and small woven bags.

Innovative project: big bag recycling

An upcoming project in autumn 2023 will demonstrate Starlinger’s technology. Big bag manufacturer LC Packaging, PET recycler PRT – a member of the ALPLA Group, and Croatian recycler Velebit will collaborate to implement a closed loop for polypropylene (PP) big bags. The bags, used by PRT for transport and storage, will be recycled by Velebit using Starlinger technology. LC Packaging will then blend the recycled pellets with virgin material to produce tape fabric, which will be converted into rPP big bags and supplied to PRT.

Advancing closed packaging cycles in the industrial sector

To enhance the sustainability of polypropylene big bags, the most commonly used material for such packaging, Starlinger provides a pioneering solution for processing recycled PP, even from post-consumer waste. Huemer noted that Starlinger customers already produce big bags using recycled polypropylene and that high proportions of recycled content pose no issue if the quality is good.

Starlinger also offers technology for manufacturing big bags from PET as an alternative to polypropylene, enabling a wholly closed packaging cycle. Properly recycled rPET achieves properties similar to virgin resin and can be used up to 100% for high-quality packaging, as demonstrated by bottle-to-bottle recycling. With Starlinger systems, it is now possible to produce big bags from 100% recycled PET.

Transforming plastic packaging into high-quality recyclates

In addition to production equipment for woven plastic packaging, Starlinger offers systems for recycling and refining plastics, which are integral to the closed-loop solutions discussed above. The company’s recycling technology and viscotec divisions are industry leaders in producing food-grade PET and HDPE recyclates and thermoforming films made of rPET.

Starlinger’s recoSTAR PET art PET recycling system is an energy-saving, low-maintenance machine concept that produces top-quality food-grade rPET while reducing production costs by around 21%. For post-consumer recycling, Starlinger’s odour reduction technology enables consumer goods packaging to be recycled and reused in the same application, thus preventing “downcycling.”