Flemish Pringles plant debuts fully recyclable packaging

US chip producer Pringles revealed a "world first" at its factory in Mechelen on Wednesday. The product's revamped recyclable tube, developed in Flanders, is made of 90 per cent paper and the steel bottom has been removed.

"The new technology involves an investment of more than 100 million euros," says the company, which has been owned by Kellogg's since 2012. VLAIO, the Flemish government's Innovation & Entrepreneurship Agency, subsisdised the research costs for the new packaging. The "superior quality of the paper packaging", which is completely airtight and keeps the product good for at least a year, is the main innovation.

The new tube was developed with Fost Plus, the company that monitors the recycling of household packaging in Belgium. The production process of the new tube will be adopted in other Pringles factories worldwide after Belgium. According to the company, the paper used will come mainly from recycled materials.

Launch in May

"Due to the steel end of the tube, for a long time the packaging was only theoretically recyclable," says Johan Van Batenburg, director of the Pringles site in Mechelen. "The high-tech paper tubes will now be admitted to the paper recycling cycle, as the steel end will be replaced by paper. Consumers will be able to throw the packaging in the paper and cardboard bin."

According to Van Batenburg, it took almost five years to design and perfect the new technology. The paper tubes will be launched in Belgium in May. The production site in Mechelen employs 650 people and produces millions of tubes that are distributed in 80 countries.

#FlandersNewsService | The new recyclable paper version of the Pringles potato chips container pictured next to the old version containing metals. © BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM and BELGA VIDEO INE GILLIS

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