TopScreen™ Barrier Coatings for Cupstock

TopScreen barrier coatings for cupstock are the answer to market demand for plastic-free, recyclable, single-use beverage cups and ice cream cups. Traditional single-use paper cups could be a nearly 100 percent renewably sourced alternative to plastic cups except for one big problem: a thin layer of plastic, typically polyethylene (PE), is laminated on the inside of the cup. This plastic layer acts as a liquid barrier and provides the glue that holds the cup together during the heat-sealing phase of production. Unfortunately, this layer prevents cups from being recycled easily, and it becomes a source of plastic and microplastic contamination in soil and marine environments.

TopScreen barrier coatings for cupstock provide papermakers a versatile toolkit to produce the next generation of cupstock — cupstock that provides a superior liquid barrier without the use of polyethylene. These innovative PE alternatives are waterborne dispersions that can be applied using conventional coating application processes, resulting in coated board that can be converted into cups on existing cup-forming machines. With TopScreen barrier coatings, single-use cups for hot and cold drinks, ice cream, and other applications are recyclable and repulpable and may be compostable.

For paper and board producers and packaging converters, TopScreen barrier coatings for cupstock offer several appealing features and benefits. For example, the coatings:

  • Can be applied to single-use cups and short-duration food service items
  • Can be applied with standard coating application equipment and processes 
  • Can be converted on conventional cup forming equipment 
  • Offer performance and aesthetics comparable to traditional PE-laminated cups
  • Are recyclable and repulpable; post-consumer cups can be used to produce new cups or other paper-based packaging products
  • May be compostable, with many applications capable of achieving EN 13432 certification
  • Comply with global food contact standards, including BfR XXXVI, FDA 21 CFR § 176.170, and GB9685-2016

Market demand for environmentally sustainable packaging continues to grow rapidly. TopScreen barrier coatings enable packaging producers to manufacture cupstock without the use of polyethylene. With TopScreen barrier coatings, packaging producers and brand owners can provide more sustainable solutions that address consumers’ environmental concerns about single-use paper cups.

Paper cups act as an insulator between the cup’s contents and the consumer’s hand, and they must be leak-free for the duration of use. TopScreen barrier coatings for cupstock perform just as reliably as PE-laminated cups and are ideal for many cupstock applications, including cups for coffee, tea, and other hot drinks; for cold drinks; and for ice cream or other quick-serve items. TopScreen barrier coatings are also suitable for printing, so paper cups can display typography, logos and other attractive graphics.

The use of TopScreen barrier coatings for cupstock does not require installation of any specialized coating application equipment. In fact, they can be applied using a variety of standard coating equipment and methods, including metered size presses; film, rod, air knife and curtain coaters; and gravure and flexographic presses. The barrier system also can be adapted to specific requirements for hot/cold applications and different heat-sealing technologies.

To learn more about TopScreen barrier coatings for cupstock, ask a Solenis expert today.