Reduced odour is becoming an indispensable quality criterion in post consumer plastics recycling
There has been a noticeable increase in demand for EREMA recycling machine combinations featuring ReFresher technology that reduces odour downstream of the extrusion process. This is due to the growing demand for high-quality post consumer recyclates that can be used for a wide variety of applications. Thanks to the combination of its INTAREMA® TVEplus® RegrindPro® machine with the ReFresher, EREMA has enabled the PCR-HDPE produced with it to be used in proportions of up to 100 percent for the production of packaging for direct contact with food and beverages, as confirmed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Ansfelden, 16. March 2021 – A look at the order books of the Austrian plastics recycling machine manufacturer shows that out of a total of more than 25 ReFresher modules sold, 19 were ordered in the past 18 months alone. This development goes hand in hand with the enormous increase in interest in the use of post consumer recyclate. “Odour is a typical problem with contaminated household waste such as LDPE films, HDPE containers and PE closures. It is essential that odour is removed if the PCR material is to be reused in high quality packaging for cosmetic products or food,” explains Clemens Kitzberger, EREMA Group Business Development Manager for Post Consumer Applications.
This development is driven by two factors: firstly, the ambitious recycling goals set by the European Union, specifying that by 2025, fifty percent of plastic packaging waste must be recycled, and secondly, the fact that recycling technologies are becoming more and more efficient. “Both of these factors have made possible for post consumer recyclate applications things that were unimaginable a few years ago, and this trend is set to continue. That is because the EU’s recycling goals will mean reusing 10 million tonnes of recyclates in new products every year in future,” says Kitzberger.
An outstanding example of a high-end product made from post consumer recyclate is the cosmetics packaging that was launched as a world first in spring 2019. This was a shower gel bottle made from 100 percent PCR-HDPE. The recyclate is produced by an INTAREMA® TVEplus® RegrindPro® machine plus ReFresher module.
Closures as additional input for food packaging made of PCR-HDPE
The superclean recycling process was also certified by the FDA in August 2019 as suitable for the production of milk and juice bottles, as well as meat trays, disposable tableware and cutlery, provided the input material comes from milk and juice bottles. In November 2020, the FDA confirmed an additional input stream and more application uses for the recyclate treated using this process. In addition to all HDPE beverage containers, HDPE closures of HDPE, PP and PET beverage bottles can also be processed. Material containing up to 100 percent recyclate can be used in the production of containers for direct contact with food of all kinds.