Misconceptions exist about the sustainability of coated papers. They are not all created equal. The difference lies in finishes versus laminates.
Paper coating materials play an important role to enhance the quality of paper. Coated paper is coated with a mixture of materials to improve gloss, brightness, smoothness, opacity, or other printing properties. With surface coatings, coated papers can achieve near 100% biodegradaton; the overall decomposition process is unaffected.
However, polycoated paper contains plastic layers, laminates, or wax coatings. While these types of papers are used to improve functionality such as water resistance or tear strength, the plastic fragments are typically less biodegradable. Many plastic-coated paper products are coated with polyethylene, which has not been shown to biodegrade in a reasonable time.
Further, packaging items consisting of different elements or material layers can result in separation challenges. Multi-material packaging – blends of different plastic types, metal foils, or coatings – consists of various material types that cannot currently be easily and economically separated for recycling.
JBM Packaging does not use any plastic, silicone, or wax coated papers in our packaging development process.