It has been recently announced that ACTEGA has been able to manufacture a PVC-free version of the heatseal used on aluminium coffee pods. These heatseals are integral to the formation of the coffee capsules, but having PVC-free versions of them will make them recyclable, reducing the amount of plastic waste generated from instant coffee.
A recent study revealed that after approximately 27 billion capsules were filled in 2022, a rise in the number of coffee pods in the waste stream increased as coffee pods are notoriously difficult to recycle. Up till now, the aluminium coffee capsules have had PVC-containing coatings which are incredibly difficult to recycle, as the components such as halogens within the make-up of the coating have to be incinerated, consequently causing environmental damage. Furthermore, in order to make recycling of the PVC-containing capsules possible, extra filtration systems are needed, which results in the process becoming difficult and very costly. A final difficulty is that there are currently bans and legal restrictions being laid down around using PVC within Europe.
All of these issues with the use of PVC for the aluminium pods means that the breakthrough from ACTEGA, with an alternative solution, has been welcomed by the packaging industry. ACTEGA is a globally known company who develop and produce speciality coatings, inks, adhesives, sealants and compounds for the printing and packaging industry. The alternative solution developed by ACTEGA is called ACTEseal heatseal and it is a PVC-free version of the internal coating of the aluminium coffee capsules.
This development will bring many benefits to the packaging industry and will make the aluminium capsules much easier to recycle. Increasing the recyclability of the coffee capsules will create the opportunity to transform the pod into a circular material, which will also be aided through the alternative material’s sealability against recycled aluminium. Within this industry being able to recycle the end product and create a circular closed loop is a necessity. Another necessity is to implement sustainable production processes throughout the value chain and making these pods more easily recyclable, plus adding alternative materials is an excellent way to do this. The new capsules have excellent sealing seam strength, during stress tests they showed high burst pressure and have brilliant flexibility and formability. Along with these features and the ease of recycling, the new pods are manufactured out of raw materials which are approved for direct food contact, which also suit market food standards, such as FDA and EU.
Alongside the new heatseal product, ACTEGA has also got a large range of primers, base coats and print and overprint varnishes, which have been developed for use on the exterior of the coffee capsules.
The Vice President of Sales for Flexible Packaging EMEA at ACTEGA, Stefan Brandhoff, commented, “After several years of research and development, we are proud to introduce our new PVC-free heatseal coatings. We firmly believe that our solution will not only become the industry standard, but also set the bar for responsible packaging.”
The Senior Vice President Flexible Packaging at ACTEGA, Thomas Sawitowski, mentioned, “Innovations in sustainable packaging are developing at an impressive pace, and ACTEGA is paving the way for future solutions. With the successful launch of our new PVC-free coating systems, we offer a promising step forward for the coffee capsule industry and brands seeking to meet growing consumer demands for environmentally sustainable packaging.”