Materials science company Void Technologies has received RecyClass approval for its VO+ cavitation technology, developed to accelerate the transition to more sustainable flexible packaging by reducing the amount of solid plastic in PE film. Cavitated Machine Direction Orientation (MDO), PE films produced using Void’s new ‘VO+ PE Masterbatch’ is claimed to offer 35% material saving achieved via density reduction and downgauging, and also opacity without TiO2.
The technology has now been accredited as fully compatible with the European polyethylene recycling stream, paving the way for its adoption by film and packaging manufacturers across the European Union.
VO+ is an extensively patented cavitation technology that replaces solid plastic with micro- and nano-scale air pockets to create high performance products with a reduced environmental footprint, without any gas injection or heavy mineral fillers. VO+ films are produced by blending the masterbatch with PE as part of the film extrusion process, before the film is MDO stretched. The orientation process causes the VO+ additives within the masterbatch to separate from the primary polymer to create a non-breathable nano- and micro-voided structure. The combination of MDO and cavitation leads to improved film performance including puncture, toughness, and high opacity via light diffraction without the need for TiO2.
VO+ technology offers two clear benefits for the recyclability of PE films. The first being, VO+ PE films have low density – even when very high opacity is required – meaning the films will always float in separation systems, as opposed to conventional PE films, which often sink due to high loadings of TiO2 pigments. In addition, during the recycling process, VO+ films will turn from white to clear and will retain similar properties to recycled PE resins.
RecyClass Recyclability Approval – awarded following independent laboratory testing in accordance with its Recyclability Evaluation Protocol for PE films – confirms that VOID’s ‘VO+ Masterbatch Technology’ will not have a negative impact on current European PE flexible recycle stream.