The Food Packaging Materials and Incidental Additives Section of the Chemical Health Hazard Assessment Division was responding to Phoenix’s request for comments on the acceptability of the recycling process for treating post-consumer rPET that would subsequently be used to produce food packaging. The letter of no objection pertains to container rPET content “of up to 50%”.
“We have been working with Canadian manufacturers on commercialising various food and beverage packaging applications,” said Lori Carson, sales and marketing manager, Phoenix Technologies. “As such, we’re pleased to now have a letter of no objection from Health Canada to support our technology.”
The LNOc process relies on Phoenix’s patented ‘extremely small particle size’ technology. The tiny particle size enables much more efficient decontamination compared to other processes, resulting in faster output and significant energy savings. (The ‘c’ in the brand name refers to the ‘compacted’ resin that’s the end result.)
LNOc technology produces rPET with superior colour and yield as compared to other methods. It also has lower acetaldehyde (AA) levels, which positively impact taste properties. Another benefit is its consistently higher intrinsic viscosity (IV) or molecular weight, which more closely matches the IV found in virgin resins. This enables higher package performance.
“Colour, yield and taste attributes have traditionally been stumbling blocks in producing viable rPET, particularly with very sensitive liquids such as water,” said Carson. “Our LNOc process overcomes those obstacles.”
Although there have been successful trials of up to 100%, Phoenix is expecting most food grade applications to run between 25-50% rPET. The percentage of rPET vs virgin resin will depend on individual product and processing parameters, coupled with supply and economic impact.
In addition to creating rPET resin for sale directly to blow/injection molding and thermoforming operations, the company is also making its technology available to others (via licence, partnership or turnkey system installation) wishing to set up their own rPET operation.
“Our philosophy is that rPET supply is better suited to multiple, smaller processing operations across North America, vs one or two large-capacity plants,” added Carson. “We believe in a local ‘consume, collect, convert’ approach. By locating rPET production in closer proximity to resin users, you improve supply times and reduce the carbon footprint.
“We’ve listened to the marketplace and have been able to engineer a resin that eliminates or minimises many of the challenges that have prevented rPET from becoming a commercially viable alternative for many applications in the past. These include colour, viscosity, AA content and others,” she said.
Phoenix’s LNOc resin is currently being trialled for a variety of containers in the US and Canada. Applications include water, beverage, deli and drinking cups.
Source: Phoenix Technologies
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