PP cup with PO sleeve

03/10/2022 | 2 min read
Vincenzo Crescenza
  • Sleeve and cup material combination boosts recyclability
  • Switch from PET sleeve to PO sleeve
  • Next step on Emmi’s sustainability journey after use of chemically recycled PP

Plastic cups are used as packaging for many foods. That should come as no surprise, since the cups are lightweight, shatterproof, and extend the shelf life of their contents by protecting them from light and oxygen as effectively as possible. Greiner Packaging’s long-standing partner Emmi also markets its popular Caffè Latte drinks in cups with attractive sleeves. Now, the two partners are taking advantage of a new combination of materials to keep the resources contained in this packaging in circulation, so that they can be used again and again. By opting for PP cups with sleeves made of PO, they are able to guarantee the highest level of recyclability.

Sleeved cups: combination of materials provides maximum recyclability

Sleeve packaging solutions make a positive impression due to their attractive appearance, pleasant feel, and wide variety of finishing options. In addition, shrink-wrap solutions adapt perfectly to any plastic body, making them the decoration of choice for unusual packaging shapes. And when the right steps are taken, sleeve packaging is also ideal for recycling. In most cases, sleeves cover the majority of a plastic packaging item. Because the plastic cup under the sleeve is white or transparent, it can be recycled very effectively, yielding high-quality recycled material. To take full advantage of this potential, choosing the best possible material combination for the sleeve and plastic cup is crucial.

The best pairing is a PP cup with a sleeve made of PO (a material composition with constituents such as PP and PE). The reason is simple. When the PP cup enters the PP recycling stream, the plastic cup’s components go through various sorting processes in the PP stream and the PO sleeve’s components are directed to a separate stream. If relatively small remnants of the PO sleeve remain attached to the PP material, the impact on the material stream is minor.

You want to learn more about sleeve packaging that is ideal for recycling?

Emmi takes the lead with sustainable packaging

Greiner Packaging customer Emmi was already using PP cups with PO sleeves. Packaging solutions that previously used PET sleeves are now being switched to the combination of materials that is best suited to recycling. This step dovetails neatly with Emmi’s drive for sustainability, with the company having already decided last year to use chemically recycled polypropylene in its Caffè Latte cups. Greiner Packaging sources this raw material from Borealis, one of the world’s leading suppliers of cutting-edge and circular-ready polyolefin solutions. Chemical recycling turns used plastic into reusable plastic, producing a recycled material of the same purity as fossil PP, which is suitable for protective, food-safe, and other demanding applications. Chemically recycled PP is currently only available in limited quantities, but Emmi is one of the few food manufacturers to have secured a supply of recycled PP thanks to its early support of and long-standing collaboration with the development partners. 

“As Switzerland’s largest milk processor, we are strongly committed to climate protection and the circular economy. Our goal is for all our packaging to be 100% recyclable; and we aim to achieve a recycled content level of 30% by 2027. We are delighted to have a long-standing partner in Greiner Packaging that constantly works with us to develop new solutions. The new material combination for our cups, comprising PP and PO, now marks the next step on the journey toward obtaining high-quality recycled material. This will mean that packaging solutions can be produced from the best recycled material again and again. We are pleased to play our part in this,” confirmed Bendicht Zaugg, who is in charge of sustainable packaging at Emmi.

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