Since 2018, when Amut and Erema joined forces on the design and launch of an inline sheet extrusion line able to produce food-contact-grade thermoforming sheet from recycled PET bottle flakes in a direct process, the line, which combines the systems of both companies, has been sold to packaging customers around the world.
Now, one of these lines is now operating at the site of a customer in - for the first time - New Zealand. Erema and Amut installed and commissioned the new line at the site of Alto Plastic Packaging in Albany in the summer of 2021, where it now processes 100 % washed post-consumer flakes into 100 % food contact grade monolayer thermoforming sheet.
The line is a combination of Erema’s Vacurema PET recycling system and Amut’s Inline Sheet production technology. The post-consumer PET material is decontaminated and pre-dried prior to extrusion in the vacuum reactor of the Vacurema 1716 T Basic. After high capacity filtration by Erema’s SW-RTF backflush filter and online IV measurement, the melt goes straight to the Amut unit without having first to go through a pelletising stage. Amut’s Inline Sheet production system processes this into thermoforming sheet in thicknesses of 0.15 - 1.2 mm. The 100% rPet monolayer thermoforming sheet is not only fully food contact compliant, it also fulfils the FDA and further regulations. At Alto, it is further processed into trays and food containers.
The line also features new Amut software, including the Easy Start and Easy Change functions that allow the operator to start the extrusion line and change product formats in automatic mode.
Alto is a division of the Australia-headquartered PACT Group. The Group has received $20 million in funding from the Federal Government’s Modern Manufacturing Initiative for Recycling and Clean Energy Manufacturing projects to support its investments in technology to increase the amount of recycled materials used in locally made plastic packaging.
Aiming to increase both its capability and capacity to produce sustainable packaging, Pact Group plans to invest approximately $76 million in new equipment and facility upgrades at 15 of its operations in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia through mid-2024. Additional capacity is needed to support customers in complying with the Government’s 2025 National Packaging Targets . These targets require 100% of packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable, with 20% average recycled content included in plastic packaging, by that year.
The investments will also support delivery of Pact’s own sustainability target to provide 30% recycled content across its portfolio by 2025.