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2019 SPC Innovator Award: Innovation in Recovery finalist

TC Transcontinental: Stand Up Pouch with EVOH Compatibilizer

TC Transcontinental developed and commercialized a new stand up pouch for Harney & Sons loose leaf tea using a layer of EVOH to provide the required barrier properties and the Dow Chemical Company’s RETAIN compatibilizer to enable recyclability through the established polyethylene film recycling stream. The pouch also provides the needed durability, heat seal strength, easy open laser score, resealable zipper, and high quality graphical characteristics.

Why it’s important:

Multi-material flexible packaging is a rapidly growing segment of the packaging market that tends to have pronounced advantages in terms of resource efficiency and emissions intensity mirrored by a pronounced disadvantage in terms of recyclability. There has been significant activity around simplifying structures to become mono-layers of polyethylene in order to enable recyclability, but that shift is usually accompanied by a loss of the barrier properties provided by the non-polyethylene layers. TC Transcontinental and their supply chain partners are the first to bring to market an example of multi-material flexible packaging that retains its advantages in barrier properties, resource efficiency, emissions intensity, and can be recycled through the network of store drop-off collection receptacles that are widely available to consumers, significantly broadening the sustainability story of an important type of packaging.

Original submission:

“Harney & Sons 100% Recyclable Loose Leaf Tea Pouch”

What impact on sustainable packaging has this submission made?

TC Transcontinental Packaging is proud to launch the first-in-market (for a food product using the Dow RETAIN compatiblizer), 100% recyclable for in-store drop-off, multilayer barrier stand-up pouch in partnership with Harney & Sons, an American tea company, for their loose tea flexible plastic pouch. Available at their stores only since November 2018, the multilayer recyclable pouch with barrier brings an innovative new sustainable product to the industry while still protecting the flavor and the freshness of the product.

It took 4 months of rigorous research, development, testing, and film and resin partnerships at TC Transcontinental Packaging’s Vancouver lab to reach success. Blending art, science, and technology, and art, TC Transcontinental Packaging created a custom multi-layer, barrier film used for the stand-up pouch that hit all of the notes: 100% recycle ready for in-store drop off, included EVOH barrier for product preservation, had seal strength, was durable, and allowed for beautiful reproduction of the Harney & Sons’ luxurious heritage matte black and gold graphics. Keeping consumers in mind, convenience features including an easy-open laser score and a reclosable zipper ensured functionality of the stand-up pouch.

One of the key components that made this breakthrough possible was the incorporation of Dow’s RETAIN resin technology which compatibilizes the EVOH barrier thus allowing for a multi-layer film to be fully recovered at end-of-life. This no longer hindered the ability for the package to be broken down and recycled so it can now contribute to a more sustainable and circular economy.

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