Circular Packaging

Shaping circular materials for a better world

Get familiar with our Circular Packaging Program

Plastic packaging is highly useful for keeping products safe and consumable – but in Europe, only 42% is recycled. We are on a mission to change that. Guided by our vision of achieving 100% circularity, we develop sustainable packaging that still performs its essential protective function.
At Brightlands Materials Center, our scientists are dedicated to enabling a successful transition to circular packaging. We focus on materials that currently have little to no recycling value, adapting their design to make them recyclable and enhancing the quality of recycled materials so they can be reused in new applications.

To improve the reusability of recycled packaging, we make packaging from mono materials, as well as recycled, partially recycled, and bio-based materials. These materials behave very differently from those used in traditional packaging and present new challenges in terms of sealing, so we conduct extensive research into how these issues can be addressed. By concentrating our efforts on designing from recycled materials, we aim to close the loop and develop functional, leakproof packaging that is truly sustainable.

For example, consider a plastic pouch: with its “peel and reseal” design, it is great for maintaining the freshness of food products. However, most pouches on the market contain multiple layers of different plastics that make them very hard to recycle.

That is why we are bringing together participants from across the value chain to develop 100% recyclable pouches for soups and sauces, including a world-first sterilizable stand-up pouch based on PET. Through projects like this, we have established ourselves as an expert center for the sealing of circular packaging.

And that is just one piece of the puzzle. Alongside redesigning flexible pouches, our focus is on the following areas:

  • Circular solutions for other multilayer, multimaterial, or multifunctional packaging with no present recycling value
  • Rigid packaging applications
  • Enhancing the quality of recycled plastics
  • Finding new applications for recycled products
  • Conducting life cycle assessments (LCAs) and impact assessments for our value chain partners
  • Sharing design guidelines with the wider manufacturing community

Through these different activities, we support the packaging industry in meeting its sustainability targets, such as EU requirements for all plastic packaging to be recyclable by 2030, and fully circular by 2050. Achieving these goals is no simple task – but if we continue to innovate and cooperate across the value chain, we can make circular packaging a reality on a global scale. So, let’s close the loop. Together.


Marieke Havermans

Business Developer

Paul van den Heuvel

Program Manager