The new Extremus Eco Nano 15 micron 30% recycled machine film from Hazel 4D has caused quite a stir in the ‘pallet wrapping fraternity’, but how good actually is it? At Hazel 4D we’ve had a lot of questions from interested clients so we decided to write an article to attempt to answer some of them.
The Extremus Eco Nano recycled machine film is a market busting success story. It’s the first time that a pallet wrap machine film producer has managed to incorporate recycled content into a Nano machine film successfully. Essentially, they’ve figured out how to add 30kg of mechanically recycled plastic to every 70kg of virgin plastic, but produce a film that still performs like a 100% virgin film – and yes, the 30% recycled content means it is exempt from the new UK Plastic Tax that’s going live on 1st April this year.
The trouble with recycled content is that it’s very, very difficult to guarantee it’s continuity. Like anything else that’s been recycled, it tends to have impurities in it that can produce weak spots and compromise the performance of the film, leading to film breakages on the pallet wrapping machine. Understandably, this is incredibly frustrating for the operators, and the solution has been to reduce the stretch levels on the film to stop the breakages – counter-intuitive really, when you consider that the whole Plastic Tax initiative is to try and reduce the amount of virgin plastic being used in packaging processes.
However, the technology used in Extremus Eco Nano ensures that as well as having 30% recycled content, the filmis so consistent that we can still guarantee that it will stretch by at least 250% – that means that 1m of film off the roll will become 3.5m of film by the time it’s been through the prestretch rollers on the machine – applied to the pallet at about 3-5 microns thick on the pallet – far outperforming any traditional virgin machine film in terms of performance and sustainability. Not only that, but it will provide impressive load stability, as the film is fully optimised, meaning that all the stretch has been taken out of it, so the pallet will stay rock solid. If you take all of the stretch out of the film, you are basically removing any opportunity for movement on the pallet as it bumps around in the back of a wagon/ship/horse-and-cart or any other mode of transport.
And then… When the pallet gets to the other end of it’s journey, and the user strips the film off the pallet – they can recycle the film in exactly the same way as they’d recycle a virgin film. The film is an LLDPE (Linear Low density Polyethylene) mix, and is a very attractive recycled material source. If you’ve got the luxury of a baler, and you can keep your clear film separate from your coloured film, then you’ll have recycling companies falling over each other to buy your bales. They then run it all through a big ‘muncher’ (not it’s technical name 😀) and turn it back into plastic pellets. These pellets in turn will be used to manufacture recycled plastic bags, pallet tops sheets, stretch wrap etc, etc. And of course the biggest advantage is that the waste is diverted from landfill/incineration or even worse sea pollution to become a useful recycled product.