Berry’s New PE Cling Film Targets PVC Food Packaging
Omni Xtra+ polyethylene film said to offer performance and sustainability benefits
Berry Global Inc. says it has developed a new version of polyethylene cling film that can serve as a high-performance –– and certified recyclable –– alternative to PVC cling film for fresh food applications.
The new, low-gauge Omni Xtra+ film is an extension of its existing Omni Xtra product line used to package fruit and vegetables, meat and poultry, and deli and bakery products. The new range, however, is said to offer better elasticity, uniform stretching behavior, and improved impact resistance.
Omni Xtra+ –– currently available in Europe –– also is said to offer users significant sustainability benefits, including compliance with the anticipated requirements of the forthcoming European Union Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulations (PPWR) and extended producer responsibility (EPR).
New thin film is lightweight and recyclable
RecyClass and Interseroh, a pair of leading organizations working to achieve plastics circularity, have both certified that the new film is recyclable and compatible with current European recycling guidelines. It also offers a 25 percent weight reduction compared to PVC. Berry says that both features are a key part of its sustainability goals and BMore Together initiative and support the aims of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Global Commitment, to which Berry is a signatory.
The Evansville, Ind.-based Berry Global, which logged $2.7 billion in 2022 film and sheet sales, notes that the improved mechanical properties of Omni Xtra+ film also enables the production of a thinner overall film than PVC versions while maintaining strength and puncture resistance. Traditionally, PE films have suffered from a relative lack of clarity, but the company claims its new manufacturing process produces a polyethylene film with clarity to rival that of PVC. This feature allows brand owners to clearly display their products on retail shelves.
Superior clarity has on-shelf appeal
Benjamin Hendriks, R&D manager for Berry Global Flexible Films, touted the significant technical advance of the Omni Xtra+ film over previous versions. The product, he says, “mirrors the performance of PVC in terms of usability and clarity whilst lowering packaging weights for improved yields. ”
The new film offers “excellent machinability and high elastic retention power, providing strong sealing properties for a tight pack and excellent product fixation,” he said. It also has superior clarity and strong anti-fog and condensation properties to provide a high level of product visibility. Furthermore, he added, the film’s ease of handling allows high throughputs on automatic packing machinery.
Finally, according to Hendriks, by delivering both product protection and on-shelf appeal, Omni Xtra+ helps to meet consumer demands for more sustainable pack formats while also helping brand owners achieve their own sustainability goals, particularly by avoiding what he calls “difficult-to-recycle PVC films.”