Driving the change to more sustainable packaging from polystyrene to polypropylene

Russell Tew

PO Packaging Industry Expert
Over 35 years working in the PO rigid and flexible packaging industry within Europe and Asia

Denisa George

PO Foam Packaging Industry Expert
Over 15 years working in the PO foam industry from packaging to mobility

Driving the change to more sustainable packaging from polystyrene to polypropylene

Substituting polystyrene for polypropylene to improve the sorting quality and recycling rates of rigid containers 

Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the damage non-recycled materials do to the environment and want change. Brand owners, retailers and packaging manufacturers need to respond to this challenge by shifting to sustainable packaging solutions. 

At Borealis we believe that the most sustainable long-term plastic packaging options are polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE) and PET. Removing all other plastic polymers simplifies sorting of those three streams and facilitates the need for massively increased recycle rates. Deselection of other materials (i.e. polystyrene (PS), PVC or PET in non-bottle applications) in packaging is gathering pace due to their very low market share, rate of collection and sorting or bad recyclability.  Borealis is committed to support the value chain to transition to more sustainable packaging by proposing PP alternative rigid solutions to our partners in the market. 

The effective recycle rate of PP is already higher than most plastic alternatives, once PP is collected and sorted.  The very rapid growth of polypropylene recycling across the globe in the coming years will support the realisation of our value chain partners sustainability goals. 

Additionally, Borealis’ optimized PP production process has a very favourable environmental footprint for energy use, water use, CO2 emissions and very low process waste compared to competing packaging materials.

Borealis’ PP materials enable companies to develop and produce sustainable high-quality packaging solutions, ideally suited to the needs of their customers. With most of our grades having market leading performance and processability profiles, many top brand owners and retailers worldwide already have experience of our PP in their packaging. With our extensive experience and expertise, we can help deliver a smooth transition without disruption in the areas of product design, production process and supply chain. 

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Marks & Spencer
“Replacements for foamed PS are now readily available and so the task of conversion in now being made so much easier by companies like Borealis with their foamed PP technologies.”
Kevin Vyse

Circular Economy Lead, Food Packaging

“A ban on selected single-use products made of plastic for which alternatives exist on the market: cotton bud sticks, cutlery, plates, straws, stirrers, sticks for balloons, as well as cups, food and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene (…)”
Extract of the statement issued by European Commission

27 March 2019

Sustainable plastic packaging in polypropylene that has demonstrated its sustainability credentials

Borealis’ PP materials are fully recyclable not just in theory, but actually done in practice. The current European recycling quantities (rigid & foam) for polypropylene are more than 30 times higher than for polystyrene which is increasingly deselected by Brand Owners and Retailers for this reason.

Superior product quality ideally fit-for-purpose for many packaging applications

Borealis’ PP solutions are used across a very broad range of packaging applications, both for food and non-food packaging. The all-round balance of properties, processability and design freedom makes PP the material of choice in most rigid (includes PP foam) packaging.

An economically beneficial solution

Polypropylene is the most commonly selected material in rigid (includes PP foam) packaging applications, both for food and non-food packaging. This is due to its outstanding cost-performance record that has continuously improved over the last 40 years.

A smooth transition ensuring peace of mind for your supply chain and end-consumers

A switch to Borealis PP solutions can be achieved without complete re-investment or significant disruption all through your supply chain.

Join our webinars to learn how polypropylene is a more sustainable solution

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Learn how polypropylene is an economically beneficial solution

Russell Tew

PO Packaging

  • PO packaging industry expert 
  • Over 35 years of PO rigid and flexible packaging industry experience in Europe and Asia

Denisa George

Foam Packaging

  • PO foam packaging industry expert
  • Over 15 years of PO foam industry experience from packaging to mobility