8 months ago

rPET Quality Report


NIR OPP OPS PCR PET PETG PP ppm ppb PVC Residence time rHDPE rPET rPP an assessment of ease of flow within subsequent melt processing equipment. Also an indicator of molecular weight. Near infrared Oriented polypropylene Oriented polystyrene Post-consumer recyclate Polyethylene terephthalate Polyethylene Terephtalate Glycol, PETG or PET-G is a modified PET copolymer which has had its crystallinity modified through addition of a modifier such as isophthalic acid, resulting in lower melting temperature and a clear amorphous resin that can be injection moulded or sheet extruded. Polypropylene Parts per million Parts per billion Polyvinyl chloride Time spent under specific processing or decontaminating conditions. Recycled high density polyethylene Recycled polyethylene terephthalate Recycled polypropylene Acknowledgements WRAP and Nextek Limited would like to thank the many project participants for valuable feedback on the state of rPET resin quality in the UK. The feedback obtained from reprocessors, converters and end-users such as retailers and brand owners was extremely useful and we appreciate the time and effort these organisations have put into providing the necessary information. Nextek would also like to thank a number of organisations that expressed an interest in R&D trials and provided technical advice and expertise and helped to ensure that the project was completed efficiently and on time. Nextek would like to acknowledge the support and help of its project partner LRS Consultancy, for performing most of the survey interviews with UK based reprocessors and converters and summarising the key data on PET quality from these interviews. In particular special thanks to Hugh Smith and Gianluca Forlani for their perseverance in data gathering, report review and time spent on completing this project. Improving food grade rPET quality for use in UK packaging 8

1.0 Introduction and scope of the project There has been significant growth in the recycling of PET bottle packaging over the last 10 years and the use of recycled PET (rPET) in new food packaging to reduce the carbon impact of PET packaging. However through engagement with users of food grade rPET, WRAP has identified that in some cases the quality of rPET material is limiting the amount that can be used in food and beverage packaging. Therefore the purpose of this project was to identify and assess the key contamination elements that impact the quality of food grade rPET in the UK, determine how they restrict the use of rPET in food packaging and to identify remedies. This project built on the issues highlighted by WRAP‟s original engagement. The objectives of this project included: • Understanding the extent to which quality issues with final rPET food grade material are limiting its use in new food grade packaging, such as drinks bottles and other rigid PET packaging put onto the UK market; • Indicating the relative importance and contribution of key elements of quality for the final food grade rPET material. These elements included the impact of coloured PET particles, black specs, PVC contamination and metal contamination; • Identifying the root cause(s) of each element and impacts on packaging and the recycling process; and • Recommending actions to address each root cause. The project methodology consisted of the following: • Telephone and face-to-face interviews with the majority of UK PET reprocessors, rPET bottle and sheet converters as well as key brand owners and retailers that use rPET in packaging applications, to: o o o o identify the levels and incidence of key contaminants in rPET that have a large impact on quality in packaging applications; understand the range of separation and washing processes used by reprocessors, and highlight any deficiencies; identify audit and testing procedures and measures used by reprocessors and converters relating to rPET quality, and highlight any deficiencies; and ascertain the primary concerns of converters, brand owners and retailers and how issues regarding rPET quality currently affect finished packaging products and limit the percentage of rPET that they can use. • Laboratory testing with material from recycling partners to: o o o identify and quantify the key contaminants that have the greatest influence on reducing rPET quality and causing other rPET related problems; map out the root causes of contamination in terms of materials and processes used, with particular reference to the issues identified through the recycler and converter surveys; and develop strategies to significantly reduce the influence of identified contaminants, involving improved materials handling, processing or technologies. • Commercial trials to test and validate the above strategies, so demonstrating: o o successful removal of the key contaminants at the recycling stage, to produce higher quality rPET for converters; and the benefits of converters using a higher proportion of this better quality rPET in their processes, compared to existing rPET feedstock. Improving food grade rPET quality for use in UK packaging 9

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