HDPE resins for oriented film structures to advance a plastics circular economy

HDPE resins for oriented film structures to advance a plastics circular economy

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NOVA Chemicals Corporation (“NOVA Chemicals”) is introducing new resin technology for machine direction oriented (MDO) and biaxially oriented (BO) processes to help its customers and brand owners meet their sustainability goals. NOVA Chemicals’ innovative technology marks a major advancement in the pursuit of a plastics circular economy, as it enables recyclable all-polyethylene (PE) packaging.

NOVA Chemicals’ highly specialized HDPE resin, SURPASS HPs153-A, is now available to produce 100% high-density MDO films. Due to the broad orientation window, HPs153-A exhibits exceptional stability during production run or manufacturing on commercial scale inline MDO blown film equipment. MDO-HDPE films can be used to replace BOPP and BOPET to produce fully recyclable all-PE laminates with high stiffness to maintain registration for printing and converting, excellent heat resistance to minimize shrinkage during packaging conversion, and outstanding clarity.

Oriented film structures allow easy-to-recycle all-PE packaging to replace traditional mixed material packaging which is not recyclable. In addition, orientation of PE films allows for property improvements otherwise not attainable in blown or cast films such as enhanced stiffness, toughness, and optical properties. Oriented films are ideal for use in food packaging, heavy duty shipping sacks, e-commerce and other demanding applications.

“NOVA Chemicals has a bold ambition to create a circular economy for plastic materials,” said Owen Lightbody, application development and circular economy leader, NOVA Chemicals. “Being able to produce HDPE-based oriented films is a significant step towards our industry’s goal of 100% recyclable packaging.”

“According to our April 2022 consumer survey on plastics, packaging and sustainability, half of consumers aged 45 and under reported deliberately purchasing products because the package included a made from recycled materials label,” explained Bill Pardo, food packaging market manager, NOVA Chemicals. “This research further supports our focus on oriented PE films for recyclability,” Pardo added.

In 2021, NOVA Chemicals introduced its transformative BOPE-HD technology that enables the manufacture of all-PE, recyclable multilayer film structures with significantly improved physical performance versus blown film. It was the world’s first HDPE resin designed specifically for the demanding tenter frame process. SURPASS TX150-A enables an all-PE biaxially oriented print web, which can be laminated to an all-PE sealant web for complete recyclability. In the last year, several film formulations have been successfully scaled up from pilot scale equipment to commercial lines. NOVA Chemicals is working with film producers across multiple regions to establish a global supply of commercial BOPE-HD films.

NOVA Chemicals’ Advanced SCLAIRTECH™ (AST) is ideal for processes such as mono and biaxial orientation. The company is approximately 90 percent complete with its second AST technology manufacturing site and the third phase of the Corunna Cracker Expansion Project. NOVA Chemicals estimates that both projects will commence full start-up activities in late 2022. The new AST polyethylene unit, located at the Rokeby Site in St. Clair Township, Ontario, will have a capacity of approximately one billion pounds per year in 2023.

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