Borealis, one of the world’s leading providers of advanced and circular polyolefin solutions and a European market leader in base chemicals and fertilisers, has announced the acquisition of a minority stake in Bockatech Limited, a UK-based growth-stage green tech business and inventor of the innovative EcoCore manufacturing technology platform for sustainable packaging. The investment deepens the existing partnership between the two companies and underscores Borealis’ commitment to plastics circularity. The move entails joint market and material development in the long term as well as the scaling of the EcoCore platform itself. The aim is to enable a greater number of global customers, value chain partners, and supply chain players to benefit from a broader range of lighter weight foam-based applications, primarily in the packaging sector.
True to the EverMinds ambition: Synergistic effects to drive plastics circularity
Borealis and Bockatech are leading the transition to plastics circularity, building on co-operation which began in 2016 to develop foam injection moulding solutions for reusable and recyclable packaging. The partnership has already generated success with the 2020 “Close the Loop” pilot project at Borealis sites in Belgium. Here, over a million single-use drinking cups were replaced with 30,000 EcoCore lightweight cups which can be collected and washed for reuse before ultimately being recycled. Thousands of these more environmentally-friendly cups also made an appearance at the recent COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, where they were used for publicly catered events. The conference venue ordered 70,000 reusable cups for use at this and future events.
By intensifying their collaboration, Borealis and Bockatech are accelerating the development of more circular packaging solutions for converters and brand owners in order to meet demand for packaging formats with lower environmental footprints. Bockatech EcoCore uses optimised polyolefin resins supplied by Borealis to create mouldings that have skin-foam-skin walls with high strength-to-weight ratios and excellent thermal insulation. As minimal investment in new equipment is required to produce safe and reliable mouldings using the EcoCore technology, converters can readily move into more sustainable packaging formats for a wide range of sectors.
While collaboration will continue to focus on reusable coffee cups, additional applications for technology licensing are foreseen, including more sustainable reusable packaging types and lightweight single-use solutions. Applications in non-packaging product ranges are also envisioned, as the EcoCore technology is further advanced and scaled up.
One aim of deeper co-operation is to produce success stories which exemplify the Borealis circular cascade model, in which design for eco-efficiency, reuse, and design for recycling are key elements integrated in a complementary and cascading way to achieve plastics circularity. The EcoCore technology platform aligns with the Borealis circular cascade model on all three levels.
“We are proud and pleased to deepen our partnership with Bockatech,” said Lucrèce Foufopoulos, executive vice-president of polyolefins, circular economy solutions, and innovation and technology of Borealis. “This is proof positive of our EverMinds approach and commitment to collaboration and innovation to bring about plastics circularity. We look forward to enabling an exciting range of lighter weight and easily recyclable solutions that facilitate the transition from single-use to reuse. This is the right path towards more sustainable living.”
“Working together with Borealis, we’ve already been able to develop packaging for several leading foodservice and fast-moving consumer goods brands in North America and Europe. This new investment will help us advance our EcoCore technology even further and increase the number of applications,” said Henri Gaskjenn, chief executive officer of Bockatech. “We share with Borealis a long-term vision of sustainability and, like them, aim to be leaders in the new plastics economy. Their material expertise combined with our manufacturing technology is creating more sustainable solutions with better performance for converters, brands, and consumers alike.”