Creating circular food-grade recycled polypropylene from post-consumer packaging
WORLD STAR PACKAGING AWARDS 2022 – NEXTLOOPP
The real breakthrough into a sustainable circular economy has been the sorting into food packaging combined with the cleaning and decontamination of Polypropylene packaging to food safety standards. This has to meet the standards compliant with the food safety authorities using Challenge Tests for validation, which is the basis for the PPristine rPP resins.
Making an Impact Across the Globe
Polypropylene (PP) is the most dominant polymer in the recycling stream. In Europe alone we produce 10 million tons of PP and only 15% of this is being recycled.
“We have the fundamental technologies needed to complete the loop with food-grade recycled polypropylene and we have a huge task ahead. We can’t ignore the imperatives of tackling waste today. There’s no excuse for waiting.”
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Prof Edward Kosior presenting at the SPE European Thermoforming Division.
The NEXTLOOPP Roadmap
The roadmap will help keep the project in line with industry targets providing 30% average recycled content across the plastic packaging industry by 2025.
The UK Plastics Pact
Benefit from a Signature Process
PRISM is a new way of rapidly sorting packaging based on intelligent labels with invisible markers that can be detected and sorted using existing high-speed optical sorting systems used in MRFs with minor modifications. This technology uses commercial labelling and decoration methods which are coded with high performing luminescent compounds to sort targeted streams including food-contact plastics, bioplastics, chemical packaging, automotive plastics, black plastics and different grades of one plastic. It will help brand owners to ensure that packaging reaches the recycling loop and boost UK recycling performance.
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Current challenges facing the industry
When it comes to food grade rPP there are processes that meet EFSA and USFDA requirements but do not have EFSA approval. What is key in this area is separation of prior food use materials.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) requires the infeed material to have previously been used with food. This is due to the fact that up until now, the major barrier to increasing recycled content has been recyclers inability to mechanically differentiate between PP bottles that once contained chemical products from those containing food.
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