Thai-based Indorama Ventures Public Company Limited (IVL) with its facility Wellman France Recycling in Verdun, has been working on the PET trays recycling for six years and through an ongoing project with Valorplast and supported by Citeo.
The project has the objective to develop and validate recycling for monolayer and multilayer PET trays. Valorplast has collected significant quantities of post-consumer PET trays and several industrial runs have been conducted by Wellman. The produced flakes are being tested by several actors to develop high quality applications. Those tests have led by IVL to develop a commercially feasible recycling solution for monolayer PET trays with the collaboration of Klöckner Pentaplast. The new technology is processing monolayer PET trays used for food packaging (meat, produce and cheese) into a high-quality product, suitable for new tray production.
This new recycling innovation will see over 50 million post-consumer PET trays diverted away from landfill or incineration.
” PET trays are essential to combat food waste. Their high barrier properties protect food for longer meaning fresh and safe food for all of us.” François Lagrue, Head of Operations – Europe, Indorama Ventures Recycling Group said. “This new technology will mean that for the first time we have a circular recycling solution for PET tray packaging. This will lend significant support in realising the EU’s plastic collection and recycling targets. This is a true value circle effort. Tests were performed at all levels, including sorting, recycling and conversion. Ensuring the input met the right quality and purity levels is our top priority. Development of tray recycling has been a goal for some time. We are proud that – together with our partners – we have been able to develop a commercially and technically feasible process, that allows us to produce a dedicated rPET flake product for the food packaging market.”
Testing has now moved into commercial production. 500t of PET trays are now being processed monthly and transformed into a high-quality tray flake, which can be used to produce new trays. The purity of the flakes is comparable with high-quality bottle flake, claims the company. A further scale up is foreseen, and the company plans to process 10KT of tray flake in 2022.