Processing

EREMA recycling tech backed by EFSA

03-Dec-2013 - By Joe Whitworth+
Recycling post-consumer PET using EREMA tech
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Recycling post-consumer PET into food contact materials using EREMA’s technology through a number of processes has been backed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

The agency issued two scientific opinions, one on processes from Octal, Pregis, Sabert, Linpac, ExtruPET, Evertis, Holfeld, Huhtamaki, Snelcore and Re-PET.

The other involved Kruschitz, Vogtland PET, Veolia, ITW Polyrecycling, Texplast, Alimpet and Esox Prodimpex .

PET flakes from post-consumer use

Input to the processes is washed and dried polyethylene terephthalate (PET) flakes from collected post-consumer PET containers (bottles) and containing no more than 5% PET from non-food consumer applications. 

Washed and dried PET flakes are heated successively in two continuous reactors before being extruded into pellets.

The Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing Aids (CEF) panel said that the continuous reactor is the critical step that determines the decontamination efficiency.

Operating parameters to control its performance are temperature, pressure and residence time.

The panel said it was demonstrated that the recycling processes can ensure that the level of migration of potential unknown contaminants into food is below the modelled migration of 0.1 μg/kg food derived from the exposure scenario for infants.

In the first opinion, the recycled PET is intended to be used up to 75% in mixtures with virgin PET, in the manufacture of bottles, intended for contact with foodstuffs, and up to 100% for the manufacture of thermoformed trays and containers intended for food contact except packaged water.

All of them are intended for long term storage at room temperature, with or without hotfill.

Three-step process

The process comprise of three steps: The post-consumer collected PET containers are processed into hot caustic washed and dried flakes which are used as input to the EREMA Basic decontamination technology.

Dried flakes are heated in a continuous reactor under vacuum before being extruded.

The panel said that the recycling processes are able to reduce accidental contamination of post-consumer food contact PET to a level that is not of risk to human health based on certain conditions.

“The final bottles manufactured with the recycled pellets do not contain more than: 40% recycled post-consumer PET for ExtruPET; 60% recycled post-consumer PET for Evertis and 85% recycled post-consumer PET for Re-PET.

“The final thermoformed trays and containers manufactured with the recycled pellets and not used for packaging water do not contain more than: 65% recycled post-consumer PET for ExtruPET, Pregis, Octal; 75% recycled post-consumer PET for Snelcore; 90% recycled post-consumer PET for Evertis, Linpac line 1, Huthamaki; and 100% recycled post-consumer PET for Re-PET, Linpac line 2, Holfeld and Sabert.”

Four step method

In the second opinion the recycled PET from the processes is to be used up to 100% for the manufacture of bottles, intended for contact with foodstuffs, and the manufacture of thermoformed trays and containers intended for contact with foodstuffs except packaged water.

The processes are four steps: post-consumer collected PET containers are processed into hot caustic washed and dried flakes which are used in the EREMA Advanced decontamination technology.

Dried flakes are heated in a continuous reactor at high temperature and then heated in a second continuous reactor at higher temperature and vacuum before being extruded.

Step 3 was considered to be the critical step for the removal of possible contaminants and should be kept under control to guarantee the performance of the decontamination, said the panel.

The panel backed the processes as long as the final product are not manufactured no more than the percentage of recycled post-consumer PET highlighted below.

“The final bottles manufactured with the recycled pellets do not contain more than: 40% recycled post-consumer PET for Alimpet, Esox Prodimpex line 1, Veolia, ITW Polyrecycling and Texplast line 1; 70% recycled post-consumer PET for Vogtland PET line 1 and Texplast line 2, 80% recycled post-consumer PET for Esox Prodimpex line 2 and 100% recycled post-consumer PET for Vogtland PET line 2 and Kruschitz.

“The final thermoformed trays and containers manufactured with the recycled pellets and not used for packaging water do not contain more than: 65% recycled post-consumer PET for Alimpet, Esox Prodimpex line 1, Veolia, ITW Polyrecycling and Texplast line 1; 100% recycled post-consumer PET for Vogtland PET lines 1 and 2, Texplast line 2, Esox Prodimpex line 2 and Kruschitz.” 

Related topics: Going green, BPA & food contact materials, Processing, Drinks, Processing Technology, Europe