The 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.
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