What are the best high barrier flexible packaging materials for recyclable nutraceutical packaging?

As a packaging buyer in the nutraceutical industry, it’s crucial for you to consider sustainable options when packaging your products. Recyclable flexible packaging has become increasingly popular due to its environmentally friendly, cost-effective, and versatile nature. In this article, we will explore three high barrier flexible packaging materials available for recyclable nutraceutical packaging in the UK: mono-PE films, mono-PP films, and paper films.

Mono-PE Films

Mono-PE films are a popular choice for nutraceutical packaging with their recyclability and excellent seal strength. These films are made of a single layer of polyethylene and can be recycled with other PE materials. However, they are only widely recyclable at the front-of-store at the big retailers in the UK under OPRL guidelines, and they are not widely home recyclable yet.

Furthermore, mono-PE films can be challenging to run on packing machines and do not have sufficient barrier properties for very moisture-sensitive and hygroscopic products. Therefore, they may not be the best recyclable flexible packaging choice for all nutraceutical products.

In terms of branding, mono-PE films can be printed with high-quality graphics, allowing you to create eye-catching packaging that will stand out on the shelf.  Additionally, these films are available with a range of finishes and varnishes, so you can customize your packaging to suit your brand’s aesthetic.

Mono-PP Films

Mono-PP films are now an excellent high barrier flexible packaging option for you to consider as a recyclable nutraceutical packaging solution. These films are made of a single layer of polypropylene and can be recycled with other PP materials. However, they too are only widely recyclable front-of-store at the big retailers in the UK under OPRL guidelines, and they are not widely home recyclable yet.

Advanced high barrier mono-PP recyclable films are likely to be your best recyclable nutraceutical packaging solution for shelf-life and packing line efficiency for many very sensitive products. These films provide excellent moisture and oxygen barriers, which are essential for maintaining the shelf-life of very hydroscopic products.  

In terms of running on packing machines, advanced high barrier mono-PP recyclable films, are easy to work with during the packaging process.  Additionally, they offer you good puncture resistance and seal strength, which is important for an effective recyclable nutraceutical packaging solution.

Regarding branding, mono-PP films offer you excellent printability and have a natural gloss, providing a premium look and feel.  You can also achieve a cost-efficient matt effect and with the right film you can also achieve very striking metallic print effects and a good level of opacity and depth of colour.  Overall you are likely to have the widest range of branding choices with mono-PP for recyclable nutraceutical packaging.

Paper Films

Paper films are a great option for sustainable nutraceutical packaging as they are the most recyclable and renewable material.  Paper films are widely home recyclable with council kerbside collections, making them an attractive option for environmentally conscious consumers.  These films are made by applying a very thin advanced heat-seal and barrier coating to paper.  Providing the coating is no more than 10% then the paper film is considered recyclable in the UK under OPRL guidelines. 

However, it’s essential to consider their barrier properties, strength and durability as they are not suitable for all applications. Whilst some paper films offer a good moisture and oxygen barrier, they are not as effective as advanced high barrier mono-PP recyclable films and are unlikely to be suitable for your more sensitive products.  

Additionally, paper films are not as puncture-resistant or durable as other materials, making them more prone to damage during transportation and storage.  However, may still provide sufficient protection for many less sensitive nutraceutical products in the smaller pack sizes as a recyclable nutraceutical packaging solution.

The natural touch and feel of paper provides you with a recyclable nutraceutical packaging solution that tends to be very environmentally appealing for consumers.  They are also easy to print on, and like other films, you can also print them with a full range of printing methods: rotogravure, HD flexographic and digital.


In conclusion, when it comes to recyclable high barrier flexible packaging films for nutraceutical packaging in the UK, it’s crucial that you consider sustainable packaging options that also provide the necessary protection for your products. While mono-PE films are recyclable, they may not always provide the required barrier properties and may be challenging to run on packing machines. Advanced high barrier mono-PP recyclable films can be an excellent option for sensitive products, providing both shelf-life and packing line efficiency, along with striking branding options.  Paper films are the most recyclable option and offer you an appealing sustainable image, but they are much more limited in durability and shelf-life protection.   Ultimately, the choice of packaging material will depend on the specific needs of your product and brand.  However, it is very important for you to remember that this article covers the main materials from a general overview, but you must be careful to choose the correct grade with any of these options, and to work with a partner who is experienced providing recyclable nutraceutical packaging solutions.  If you have any further questions, one of our sustainable packaging specialists would be glad to help.