NOVA Chemicals enters high-density biaxially oriented polyethylene market to expand recyclable packaging options


Calgary, Alberta, Canada (June 30, 2020) – NOVA Chemicals Corporation (NOVA Chemicals) has developed high-density resin technology for the biaxially oriented polyethylene (BOPE) market. HD-BOPE is a transformative technology that enables the manufacture of all-polyethylene, recyclable multilayer film structures with significantly improved physical performance vs blown film. The technology is seen as ideal for use in food packaging, heavy duty sacks, e-commerce and other demanding applications.

The development of this technology marks a major advance in the pursuit of a plastics circular economy. HD-BOPE can help enable film manufacturers to realize fully recyclable PE monomaterial structures without sacrificing stiffness and print clarity. Monomaterial film structures are critical to achieving brand owner commitments to make all plastic packaging 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable.

Alan Schrob, consumer and industrial films group manager, NOVA Chemicals polyethylene business, said “brand owners and consumers are looking for easy-to-recycle packaging that prevents contamination and extends the shelf life of their products. Our HD-BOPE technology provides an additional building block for converters to make recyclable multilayer films that perform as well as traditional mixed-material structures.”

Biaxially oriented films are stretched in both the machine and transverse direction, resulting in films that have enhanced toughness, improved barrier performance, and exceptional optics. Film structures that use the technology are commonly laminates; HD-BOPE resins are designed for use in the print web and can then be laminated to a sealant film made with lower density polyethylene. The finished film also has high stiffness which enables downgauging and improved processability in converting steps versus blown film alternatives, and low tear properties needed for easy-open packaging. Similar to films made from other biaxially-oriented technologies, BOPE films demonstrate excellent thickness uniformity and film flatness for high yield rates.

NOVA Chemicals has been working with Brückner Maschinenbau, the world’s leading stretching line manufacturer, to accelerate the development and commercialization of the technology. “We have been very pleased with the performance of NOVA Chemicals’ products on our equipment and are getting positive feedback from the converters who are making film with it as well,” said Sebastian Ruhland, senior sales manager, Brückner Maschinenbau. “We believe this technology will open completely new possibilities to provide PE films for 100% monomaterial packaging films as an answer to the recyclability challenges we’re facing.”

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