Hydropol, developed and produced by Aquapak, can be made into a highly functional oxygen barrier film for complex packaging which is capable of replacing the most widely used oxygen barrier ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH), as part of a multilayer structure. However, with its additional properties of strength and sealability and the fact that it is water- soluble, non-toxic and marine safe, means that it offers new opportunities going forward to produce complex barrier packaging which could be recycled or is fully biodegradable, leaving no trace or plastic pollution should they enter the environment.
As an enabling technology, Hydropol can be used on its own or in combination with other materials to enhance recyclability, compostability and end-of-life options. Its material properties allow for scalability into diverse types of products and its solubility makes it easy to separate from other materials when recycling. For example, it can be extrusion coated and laminated onto paper or board giving strength and barrier properties against oxygen, oil and grease then made into alternative mailing bags, dry pet food sacks, window patch boxes and packets etc.
To dispose, consumers can simply put the packaging into their household paper waste. The Hydropol layer is formulated to ‘wash off’ (dissolve) during the paper repulping process and then either biodegrades in the waste water system or turned into clean energy if the plant has an AD system.
Who is using Hydropol?
Consumers and businesses are increasingly concerned about plastic pollution and environmental sustainability. Packaging producers need solutions. Aquapak has partnered with a growing base of clients in apparel, fashion, hospitality, healthcare, food packaging, logistics packaging, industrial, nonwovens, and other packaging.
What is Hydropol made from?
The base plastic is currently used for dishwasher tablets, ingestible pill casings and soluble stitches. Hydropol‘s resistance to low temperature solubility and high barrier to elements adds functionality, providing a wider range of uses. It can be recycled, re-pulped, composted and is distinctively compatible with anaerobic digestion. Furthermore, if unintentionally released into the natural environment, Hydropol – which is non-toxic and marine safe - will dissolve and subsequently biodegrade, leaving no trace.
What is Hydropol being used for?
Extrusion coatings and laminates for paper/board applications are commercially available and in customer production trial stages, including a number of home delivery and ecommerce applications, packaging for dried pet food, snacks, cooked meat and convenience food applications.
Blown film products commercially available and made from Hydropol include garment bags, ESD bags, organic waste disposal bags and laundry bags for infection control. These can be disposed of at home by the consumer in hot water or added to the recycling where they dissolve during the recycling wash processes.
Other applications under development with customers and development partners include injection moulded parts such as golf tees, nonwoven fibre for applications such as flushable wet wipes and cellulose combinations for thermoformed trays.