HolyGrail 2.0 and Hyperform® HPN® for polypropylene – towards a green future and a plastics circular economy

HolyGrail 2.0 and Hyperform® HPN® for polypropylene – towards a green future and a plastics circular economy

June 29, 2021 by Bhavesh Gandhi and Paul Kearns

Milliken is a proud member of the cutting-edge Digital Watermarks Project, a large-scale initiative piloting digital watermarking technologies for the accurate sorting of packaging at scale. It’s hoped these technologies can help to increase recycling efforts globally.

The initiative’s second phase, HolyGrail 2.0, will validate the concept and the technology on a semi-industrial scale by testing sorting efficiencies, consumer engagement, and distribution tracking.

This leading-edge work aligns with Milliken’s ambitious vision of a circular future, along with solutions like our Hyperform® HPN® high performance additives for polypropylene (PP), helping on the sustainability journey and to achieve this ambitious goal.

UL Environment & Sustainability already has certified that four grades of Milliken’s Hyperform HPN enable an average of 5-8% in energy savings for firms that injection mold thin-wall container lids or similar PP products. Milliken does not plan to stop there and already has plans to pursue UL certification for additional nucleators in various applications.

PP for recycling

Polypropylene has become a frontrunner in sustainable packaging thanks to its low carbon footprint, light weight, and recyclability. PP consumes the least amount of energy and water during production and produces the lowest CO2 emissions when compared to other transparent plastics in packaging. It also offers heat resistance, making it suitable for microwaveable food packaging.

Hyperform HPN performance additives provide an excellent balance of physical properties especially stiffness/impact balance. These innovative performance additives help to create stronger, lighter parts by improving stiffness while retaining the same impact behavior as a non-nucleated resin.

Having highly recyclable PP, that delivers significant energy savings and that performs so well, supports sustainability efforts by helping to reduce carbon emissions and by allowing polypropylene to replace other materials in some applications helping, for example, to meet targets such as the EU’s 50% 2025 recycling target for plastic packaging.

Interactive IML packaging: futureproof and fully recyclable

In-mold labels (IML) are a great match for Hyperform HPN containers, as together, polypropylene IML decoration and container form mono-material packaging that is easy-to-recycle. Milliken already works in partnership with the Belgian based in-mold labeling specialist, MCC Verstraete, to create next-generation packaging.

Interactive IML labels by MCC Verstraete are enhanced with a digital watermark, making the final packaging intelligent and futureproof. The digital watermark is a Digimarc Barcode imperceptible to the human eye but detectable with a camera for computing devices.

It has huge potential in different stages of the packaging journey, from manufacturing and consumer engagement to sorting and recycling. As part of HolyGrail2.0, Interactive IML adds a ‘digital recycling passport’ that explains on details such as how and where the packaging was made, or, for example, whether it was used for food or not.

This technology means that waste management systems can sort waste more efficiently, leading to better waste streams and far more recycling and this turns full circle, leading us back to our ambitions for HolyGrail 2.0 and the drive for a truly circular economy.

To find out more about the Digital Watermarks Project visit chemical.milliken.com/news/milliken-to-join-the-digital-watermark-project.

To find out more about HolyGrail 2.0 visit www.aim.be/digital-watermarks.

To find out more about Milliken’s sustainability and CSR initiatives visit milliken.com/sustainability.

To find out more about MCC Verstraete visit www.verstraete.mcclabel.com.

Written by

Bhavesh Gandhi

Global Product Line Manager

Written by

Paul Kearns

Sustainable Development Manager