The findings of an independent laboratory testing of Inhance Technologies’ Enkase fluorination barrier technology show that it is fully compatible with the recycling stream of HDPE containers as it does not pose any recyclability issues.
This innovative technology is a chemical transformation of the surface of the plastic container, consisting of a fluorination treatment using elemental fluorine to enhance the properties of HDPE for hydrocarbon barrier packaging.
The technology is used for rigid packaging that is mainly destined for consumer-packaged goods, pharmaceutical, health and beauty, industrial and agricultural chemicals. Enkase allows for preventing permeation of various ingredients through the container walls. It ensures the shelf life of the content as well as its efficacy.
According to the results of the laboratory which were carried out as per the APR HDPE Critical Guidance and Application Guidance, this new technology conforms to the current European HDPE bottles recycling stream provided it is used under specific conditions. These conditions relate to the whole system of such a container which needs to conform to the RecyClass Design for Recycling Guidelines for HDPE containers. These include, among others, the requirements  on the absence of functional barriers, printing technology but also different components of the package like: labels and sleeves, adhesives, closures, liners or seals and valves, to give an example.
Current barrier technologies may disrupt recycling of HDPE bottles. However, Inhance Technologies’ Enkase barrier technology, as per the RecyClass grading system (using classes from A to F, resembling the EU energy efficiency scale) is graded as A , as it does not pose any recyclability issues and proves to advance quality recycling. As a result, it is relevant for high-value applications.
Consequently, this technology will be used as an input for updating the RecyClass ‘Design for Recycling Guidelines’ as well as the RecyClass online tool which are the components of the guidance for the recyclability evaluation. These findings contribute positively to the developments which advance design for recycling for HDPE bottles by setting standards for their recyclability.