Aquapak publishes whitepaper demonstrating effectiveness of Hydropol PVOH-based polymer for use in paper packaging as an oil and grease barrier; material also retains 100% end-of-life recyclability of paper products

Sample article from our Chemicals Industry

October 10, 2022 (press release) –


-    Hydropol coated paper is 100% recyclable – 
-    Hydropol is non-toxic and marine safe when dissolved in water - 

Aquapak, which has successfully developed and commercialised HydropolTM, an innovative polymer based on Polyvinylalcohol (PVOH), has today published a whitepaper which demonstrates how thermally-processible PVOH can be extrusion coated onto paper to achieve gas and oil/grease barrier and sealability, whilst retaining 100% end of life recyclability of the paper.  

The findings are based on extensive testing across commercial lines and lab facilities at Aquapak Polymers, ITENE in Spain, Tampere University in Finland, and SAM in North America. The whitepaper was launched at today’s TAPPI European PLACE Conference Program in Bratislava, Slovakia.  TAPPI is the leading association for the worldwide packaging, paper, pulp, tissue and converting industries.  To download the whitepaper, visit

The new findings are particularly important as demand for paper-based packaging has risen sharply following the proposed introduction of taxation for single use plastic products and the need to increase circularity through recycling. 

Whilst paper-based packaging can be highly recyclable, the way it is combined with other materials and polymers to improve functionality can drastically hinder recyclability and negatively impact paper fibre recovery. Packaging design can be used to minimise insoluble plastic content and maximise fibre recovery to ensure that future paper-based products remain valuable to the circular economy.

The new third-party tests outlined in the white paper show that Hydropol can be used in extrusion coating on multiple extrusion coating machines at scale. Successfully coating on to both paper and board, Aquapak has proven that excellent results in gas and grease barrier can be achieved and that additional functionality such as heat seal and increased paper sheet strength can also be imparted. Aquapak has also proven that Hydropol coated paper is 100% repulpable in standard pulping systems and can be fully recycled.  In addition, if littered Hydropol is biodegradable, compostable, as well as being non-toxic and marine-safe.

Hydropol coated paper can be used applications where strength, grease and gas barriers are required. It can also be enhanced further by combining it with other materials. For example, it could be co-extruded with other polymers to give water resistance.  Hydropol coated paper is suitable for making bags and pouches and will run on standard form fill and seal equipment. 

Dave Meadows, Product Manager at Aquapak, comments: “The new whitepaper launched today clearly demonstrates Hydropol’s effectiveness as an extrusion barrier, both in terms of functionality but also ensuring the paper is 100% recyclable at end of life.  Hydropol is an exciting prospect for packaging designers and producers as a replacement for conventional polymers which provide a barrier but are not repulpable.”

For more information visit

Notes to Editors

About Aquapak

Aquapak develops and manufactures a range of adaptive polymer-based material technologies that deliver both performance and environmental responsibility at scale. For example, it has developed Hydropol, an enabling technology for the circular economy, which is biodegradable, compostable and marine-safe, and used in a range of packaging materials. Aquapak’s HQ and manufacturing centre is in Birmingham, UK, with its main geographical markets in the US, EU and Asia.

About HydropolTM - Accelerating the transition to the Circular Economy

Hydropol™, developed and produced by Aquapak, can be made into a highly functional oxygen barrier film for complex packaging which is capable of replacing the most widely used oxygen barrier ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH), as part of a multilayer structure. However, with its additional properties of strength and sealability and the fact that it is water- soluble, non-toxic and marine safe, means that it offers new opportunities going forward to produce complex barrier packaging which could be recycled or is fully biodegradable, leaving no trace or plastic pollution should they enter the environment.

As an enabling technology, Hydropol™ can be used on its own or in combination with other materials to enhance recyclability, compostability and end-of-life options. Its material properties allow for scalability into diverse types of products and its solubility makes it easy to separate from other materials when recycling. For example, it can be extrusion coated and laminated onto paper or board giving strength and barrier properties against oxygen, oil and grease then made into alternative mailing bags, dry pet food sacks, window patch boxes and packets etc. 

To dispose, consumers can simply put the packaging into their household paper waste. The Hydropol layer is formulated to ‘wash off’ (dissolve) during the paper repulping process and then either biodegrades in the waste water system or turned into clean energy if the plant has an AD system.

Who is using Hydropol?
Consumers and businesses are increasingly concerned about plastic pollution and environmental sustainability. Packaging producers need solutions. Aquapak has partnered with a growing base of clients in apparel, fashion, hospitality, healthcare, food packaging, logistics packaging, industrial, nonwovens, and other packaging. 

What is Hydropol made from?
The base plastic is currently used for dishwasher tablets, ingestible pill casings and soluble stitches.  HydropolTM ‘s resistance to low temperature solubility and high barrier to elements adds functionality, providing a wider range of uses.  It can be recycled, re-pulped, composted and is distinctively compatible with anaerobic digestion.  Furthermore, if unintentionally released into the natural environment, HydropolTM – which is non-toxic and marine safe - will dissolve and subsequently biodegrade, leaving no trace.   

What is Hydropol being used for?
Extrusion coatings and laminates for paper/board applications are commercially available and in customer production trial stages, including a number of home delivery and ecommerce applications, packaging for dried pet food, snacks, cooked meat and convenience food applications.

Blown film products commercially available and made from HydropolTM include garment bags, ESD bags, organic waste disposal bags and laundry bags for infection control.  These can be disposed of at home by the consumer in hot water or added to the recycling where they dissolve during the recycling wash processes. 

Other applications under development with customers and development partners include injection moulded parts such as golf tees, nonwoven fibre for applications such as flushable wet wipes and cellulose combinations for thermoformed trays. 

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Dan Rivard
- VP Market Development -

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