Amsterdam-based Synvina CV has received interim approval from the European PET bottle platform (EPBP) for the recyclability of its bio-based polyethylenefuranoate (PEF) materials in the European bottle recycling market.
The BASF-Avantium joint venture, which was set up in October last year, will produce bio-based furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) as main building block for the new polymer PEF.
With the approval, PEF bottles are expected to be disposable through existing recovery systems the same way as polyethylene terephthalate (PET), the conventional material for plastic bottles.
The interim approval applies to a PEF market penetration of up to 2%.
The figure corresponds to the amount of PEF that could be produced from Synvina's intended 50,000 tonnes reference plant for FDCA.
According to Synvina, PEF has improved barrier properties for gases like carbon dioxide and oxygen, leading to a longer shelf life of packaged products.
It is also claimed to offer a higher mechanical strength which will allow thinner PEF packaging to be produced and with fewer resources required.
“EPBP confirms that consumers are expected to be able to return or dispose PEF bottles the way they are used to do with PET bottles. This is a major milestone for our innovative material based on renewables”, said Patrick Schiffers, CEO of Synvina.
As recyclability becomes more important in the packaging industry, he added, “EPBP's interim approval confirms that with PEF we are able to offer solutions for our customers to meet these standards.”
Synvina expects PEF quantities in the European packaging market to exceed the 2% market share in medium term.
The company said it worked jointly with recyclers and brand owners to develop “a dedicated recycling stream” for PEF based bottles to separate “the valuable PEF” from conventional plastics.
PEF recycling in other markets like the US and Japan will be reviewed near-time.
Synvina said it would make further announcements regarding PEF quality, packaging designs and regional launch markets before market introduction of the material.
Synvina did not give a timeline for the commercial production of the PEF bottles.