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Dow and P&G China boost e-commerce pack recyclability with air capsule launch

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Dow and P&G China boost e-commerce pack recyclability with air capsule launch

Dow is partnering with Procter & Gamble China (P&G China) for an air capsule to create environmentally sustainable e-commerce packaging. The air capsule, enabled by P&G China’s innovation and Dow’s materials, aims to protect products while avoiding excessive packaging in e-commerce and facilitating recyclability.  

Source: PackagingInsights

Global materials science company Dow explains that air capsule packaging is a significant milestone in advancing environmental sustainability for the e-commerce industry, offering benefits such as a 40% reduction in material weight compared to traditional corrugated parcel boxes, requiring 25% of original trucking and 75% less warehouse space. 

The air capsule furthermore offers safe and reliable cushion protection and enables recyclability through an all-PE monomaterial structure.

The packaging design is also reliable and convenient for consumers, with features such as a tamper-free opening for content integrity, an easy-to-tear strip and an auto-deflate feature for hassle-free disposal after opening.

The rise of e-commerce has inevitably generated an increase in packaging waste. At Dow, our role is to develop materials that enable better performing, [environmentally] sustainable packaging designed for recyclability from the start. Through our collaboration with P&G China, we not only meet the needs of consumer brands and e-retailers but also enable consumers to do their part with materials that close the loop on packaging waste.

Bambang Candra, commercial vice president for Asia Pacific at Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics

Last year, Innova Market Insights identified “Home Delivery Haven”  as the leading packaging trend. According to a survey by the market researcher, 35% of global consumers  have increased their home food delivery use since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Facilitating recyclability

E-commerce packaging typically consists of carton boxes as the outer packaging, with air cushion bags or bubble wrap inside to protect and stabilize the products during delivery. 

However, the traditional air cushion bag film structure is multi-material – such as nylon (to provide a high gas barrier for extended shelf life), a tie-layer resin and PE – making it difficult to recycle through conventional methods.

Dow’s Elite AT high-performance PE resins provide comparable gas barrier performance, allowing nylon to be removed from the formulation to create an all-PE monomaterial structure that enables packaging to be recycled.

At P&G, we are focused on optimizing our packaging design and committed to driving greater circularity in plastic packaging. Partnering with Dow has enabled us to make progress in our commitment toward achieving 100% recyclable or reusable packaging by 2030. The development of our air capsule e-commerce packaging is a step in the right direction, and we hope to continue collaborating with more partners to drive such impact at scale.

Neo Yang, go to market packaging innovation director, P&G Greater China

Dow recently entered into a long-term supply agreement in North America with biomass refineries operator New Energy Blue, which is set to create bio-based ethylene from renewable agricultural residues. 

Dow is in close discussions with New Energy Blue on project progress and milestones and will consider this successful when we begin incorporating this renewable feedstock into our production.

Manav Lahoti, global sustainability director for Olefins, Aromatics & Alternative at Dow, told Packaging Insights

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