Recyclable Packaging

- January 01, 2016 -

DuPont is collaborating with packaging companies, recyclers, and non-profit organizations to create an innovative approach to recyclable packaging.

In Brazil, the agricultural production required to feed and fuel a growing population has created over 150 thousand tons of empty agricultural chemical containers since 2002.

Dow™ Fusabond® compatibilizer resin allows many of those containers to be recycled and remade into corrugated piping to be used in construction. So, instead of filling landfills, they are filling an existing need, and creating sustainable jobs.

Handling Agricultural Chemical Packaging Responsibly

Agricultural chemicals offer many benefits, but it is necessary to avoid dangerous reuse or inadequate disposal, both of which can adversely affect human health and the environment.

In 2000, Brazil passed Law 9,974 to define a system of proper disposal of empty packaging. About a year later, the National Institute for the Processing of Empty Packaging (inPEV) was created as a nonprofit organization to bring together manufacturers of agricultural chemicals, including Dow, and industry organizations.

Recyclable Packaging: Good for the Environment and the Economy

The system to properly dispose of empty packaging quickly evolved. Units were built all over Brazil to receive, inspect, compact, and ship used packaging to its final destination. This disposal system had the added benefit of creating more than 2,500 direct or indirect jobs in the process.

Since inPEV opened in 2002, the system has collected more than 150 thousand tons of empty packaging. That’s the equivalent of 374 thousand barrels of crude oil that did not have to be pumped, or 160 thousand tons of CO2 equivalents that were not released into the atmosphere.

Fusabond® Makes Different Plastics Compatible

The process of manufacturing agricultural chemical packaging produces process overflows, or runners. This scrap material is comprised of different polymers used in the extrusion process. But because these polymers are chemically different, it is difficult to make them compatible and recyclable as they result in compounds that have little resistance and poor performance.

Dow™ Fusabond® functional polymers help bond chemically dissimilar polymers for improved impact resistance, surface finishing, and processability. They also enable the recycling of different types of polymers into a homogenous matrix that can be used to manufacture parts and films that look good and perform well.

A “Virtuous Cycle” for Sustainable Growth

Cimflex Industria e Comércio de Plasticos is one of nine companies developed by inPEV to create recyclable packaging. Fusabond® resin allows Cimflex to turn recyclable packaging into rigid and flexible corrugated pipe for use in civil construction.

Materials that remain unused are then returned to Cimflex, where they are used to make monolayer bottles for packaging automotive oil. This packaging is, in turn, recycled after use, in initiatives such as “Programa Jogue Limpo,” a reverse logistics system for lubricant packaging that operates in some of southern Brazil’s state capitals.

As the materials ultimately return to the manufacturing cycle through recycling, businesses profit, jobs are created, and potentially wasteful, hazardous containers are reused, and a “virtuous cycle” is completed.