Greiner Packaging and LyondellBasell developed a circular solution for coffee capsules for Nescafé Dolce Gusto. It uses the CirculenRevive post-consumer recyclates from LyondellBasell. (Image: Greiner Packaging)
PCR Coffee Capsules Stay in the Recycling Loop
12.04.2022 - Coffee capsules do not really have the best reputation. They are not used for a long period of time, but instead are thrown away quickly after use, and they also consume a lot of raw materials in the form of new plastics. However, as in many other sectors, companies are also working on developing new and more sustainable solutions to this problem. Greiner Packaging and LyondellBasell are one example of this. Together, the companies developed a circular solution for coffee capsules for the Nestlé brand Nescafé Dolce Gusto.
The material for the capsules with the brand name CirculenRevive is provided by LyondellBasell. The company developed a polymer on the basis of advanced post-consumer recyclates (PCR). During the recycling process, plastic waste is transformed into new polymers that can then be used to manufacture products. This material has the same characteristics as virgin material, but has the advantage of also promoting a circular economy for plastics.
Companies set ambitious goals
This was particularly important to the two companies, as they have set themselves ambitious sustainability goals. LyondellBasell, for instance, wants to manufacture, and use in its products, two million tons of recycled polymers based on renewable resources per year until 2030. The company considers cooperation along the entire value chain, as is the case for the Nestlé coffee capsules, to be an important step to achieve its goals.
"We are extremely pleased to be able to support our client Greiner Packaging – and subsequently Nestlé – with a circular solutions from our recently introduced Circulen family of products. CirculenRevive polymers help to address the challenge of difficult-to-recycle plastics on a large scale."
Richard Roudeix, Senior Vice President Olefins and Polyolefins for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India at LyondellBasell
Greiner Packaging has also set itself goals for the use of sustainable packaging. By 2025, all the company’s packaging is to be 100 % reusable, recyclable or compostable. With LyondellBasell’s polymers, the company is taking a further step in this direction.
With coffee capsules made of PCR for Nescafé Dolce Gusto, Greiner Packaging is taking a step towards a circular economy for plastic packaging. (Image: Nestlé)
New opportunity for mixed plastics
LyondellBasell also uses a mass balance approach to determine the amount of advanced recyclates that were used in the production process. Via a sustainability declaration, the share of recycled material can then be apportioned to the final polymer. The company’s technology also stands out because it can utilise used mixed plastics. Mixed plastics are unsuitable for mechanical recycling and generally end up in landfills or energy recovery. In the form of CirculenRevive, these plastics can stay in the recycling loop and be transformed into new products.
As the capsules serve as food packaging, they have to fulfil strict requirements. Not only do the polymers meet the requirements of the food industry, the sites participating in the production process are also ISCC PLUS certified. This certification system is recognised worldwide and guarantees transparent traceability along the entire value chain.
“We are very pleased to be able to put this forward-looking project into practice. Our goal is to use as much recycled material as possible for our packaging. That’s why we are committed to seizing every opportunity in order to achieve this goal and make our packaging more sustainable.”