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Recycling of thermoforms: a challenge for the PET value chain

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Recycling of thermoforms: a challenge for the PET value chain

June 13
12:45 2016
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pic2The recycling of thermoforms presents an important challenge to the PET value chain, according to Petcore Europe.

The demand for PET and other polymers in fresh food rigid packaging is growing at a fast rate, according to the organisation that represents the interests of companies in the European PET value chain.

Mono-layer trays for packing fresh fruits and vegetables, and multi-layer sealed trays with lids as seen for fresh meat or food preparations, are providing the best packaging assets for packing, distribution, shelf displays, consumer handling and food conservation at home, Petcore Europe said.

But the supply chain has to find new ways to increase uptake of thermoform recycling, according to the co-chairman of Petcore Europe’s PET Thermoforms Working Group.

Wim Hoenderdaal said: “Recycling of PET thermoforms is the final stage for closing the loop of PET recycling; we have to find solutions for increasing the recycling rates, especially in the context of the new Circular Economy Package and its ambitious plastics recycling targets proposals.”

Currently, the estimated demand for PET thermoforms is approximately 800,000 tons of PET resin per annum, out of which over 400,000 tons come from post-consumer recycled PET (rPET). But the amount of PET thermoformed packaging being placed on the market in Europe is increasing, creating a need to increase in the collection and recycling of these thermoforms.

In order to find solutions, Petcore Europe has formed the PET Thermoforms Working Group – comprising more than 30 companies and organisations, including key players from industry and waste management – to maintain and increase the market share of PET thermoforms in the European market by improving their image as the best-in-class packaging material. This will be done through provision of sustainable and reliable end-of-life solutions for PET thermoforms, Petcore Europe added.

Petcore Europe is the trade association based in Brussels representing the complete PET value chain in Europe. Our mission is to ensure that the PET industry and its associations are aligned to deliver increased value and sustainable growth of the PET value chain, to ensure that PET is positioned and recognised as an environmentally sustainable packaging material, to represent the interests of the European PET industry to the European institutions and other key stakeholders, to validate and support innovative packaging solutions from a recycling perspective, and to work with all interested parties to ensure the sustainable growth of PET post-consumer collection and recycling.

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