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The amazing way food packaging is being recycled, and what makes it possible

As we become ever more aware of our impact on the environment, people around the world have begun to recycle the materials we use as a matter of habit. Among the most reused materials we have is paper, as recycling it is a way to reduce deforestation and protect our precious forests. While you might be familiar with reading newspapers made from recycled paper, did you know that it can also be used to make high quality packaging – all thanks to the help of titanium dioxide!

Protecting your food

We’ve all bought food that comes in white boxes; everything from pizza to milk can come in cardboard packaging with a shiny white exterior. But what you may not be aware of is that this exterior is not just for looks. Coatings which use titanium dioxide can be used to create an effective barrier to oil and grease, all without impacting the ability to recycle the cardboard again. This is in contrast to emulsions and wax coatings which can also provide barrier protection, but will reduce the recyclability of the packaging.

It’s in the making

Recycled paper and cardboard is undoubtedly an excellent way to protect the environment. However, because of the inconsistencies that are inevitable when mashing together paper from lots of sources, it can be difficult to automate the manufacturing of things like boxes. Coating cardboard with titanium dioxide is one way to smooth this process, enabling high quality coated board made up with 100% recycled fibres. In this way fibres can be reused on average 6 times, while maintaining excellent coated board quality!

Brilliant white regardless of the source

When producing paper and board it is often important that it looks high quality, not only because it’s easier on the eyes but also because when displaying things like text a blotchy background can be a big problem! One way to reach this effect is to be choosy about your inputs, limiting the use of sources like newspaper. Another way is to use a prolonged chemical scrubbing process. However, titanium dioxide coatings provide an alternative which reaches the desired level of whiteness without respect to inputs.

Titanium dioxide is employed widely in paper recycling because it provides a low-impact and effective way to maximize the recycling potential of a material we use and discard all the time. It’s clear that without titanium dioxide, we would be far more limited in how we produce, use and reuse coated board every day. 

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