Design of a strategic development-tool for targeted product design of recyclable biobased paper coatings

Workgroup: Packaging materials

Research Partner and Scientific Guidance:

  1. Papiertechnische Stiftung Institut für Zellstoff und Papier PTS-IZP, Dr. Annika Eisenschmidt
  2. Fraunhofer-Institut für Verfahrenstechnik und Verpackung IVV Freising, Dr. Klaus Noller

IGF: 21805 BG
Financing: BMWi
Laufzeit: 2021 – 2023

Targeted group and partners
The project aims to develop a data-based design template that will help product developers of new paper coatings to purposefully evaluate their functionality. The project is intended to support and promote the highly topical trend of substituting flexible packaging made of plastics with functional paper-biopolymer combinations. A special focus of the project is on the increased usage and application of renewable bio-based coating substances.

The project has a high interdisciplinary significance for the industrial sectors of

  1. Packaging industry and retail trade
  2. Recovered paper trade and paper industry
  3. Supply industry (coatings and additives)

Status Quo
Currently, the recyclability of paper-based packaging materials in the paper industry is tested, for example, using the PTS-RH:021/97 (2012) method. Due to often tightly closed water circuits in paper mills, additionally the quality of the circuit water has a significant influence on the quality of the final product. There is currently no suitable method specifically for evaluating the recyclability of redispersible coatings.

Packaging distributors are encouraged to use recyclable, bio-based packaging materials. Although there are various developments for bio-based coatings for paper, their recyclability has not yet been investigated. There is a lack of knowledge to estimate which specific properties of a bio-based coating influence recyclability.

Since the effects of bio-based paper coatings on recyclability have not been clarified yet, and so far there are no suitable methods for the evaluation of recyclability, the industrial implementation of bio-based paper packaging is inhibited.

Research topic
The overall objective of the project is to increase the market potential for paper-based packaging. For this purpose, a data-based decision tree for a comprehensive product design for coated paper products in the area of interplay between coating – barrier effect – recyclability is to be developed. The following milestones are envisaged:

  1. Ranking of the effect of the parameters coating formulation, thickness, application technology, solubility etc. on the recyclability of paper coated with (bio)polymers
  2. Practical evaluation procedure for the "interfering potential of redispersible coating components in paper production"
  3. Prototype packaging concepts for food / product categories in the interaction of packaging functionality and recyclability

The IGF project presented here by the Research Association of the Industrial Association for Food Technology and Packaging (IVLV e.V.) is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action as part of the program for the promotion of industrial community research (IGF) based on a decision of the German Bundestag.