Packaging specialist Faerch Plast is developing a type of CPET that can be detected in recycling streams by infrared technology, enabling the material to be separated from mixed plastics waste for the first time.
“When recycling plastics, companies have infra red cameras to identify what the plastics are,” said spokesperson Joe Iannidinardo. “But when the plastic is black light can't shine through it, meaning it can't be detected by the cameras.”
Faerch Plast has reformulated its CPET material with a different pigment arrangement. This allows some of the infra red light to reflect back into the cameras, meaning the material can be recycled in mixed waste streams.
The company developed the material at its R&D centre in Denmark but is currently testing using the material to manufacture trays for ready meals in the UK, which is the main market for these products. The firm is now carrying out tests with stakeholders, including WRAP and various supermarkets.
“We're excited about the project because it brings the idea of a closed loop system closer and closer,” said Iannidinardo, adding: “The aim is to have the trays come back to use as flakes, perhaps even three or four times.”
Iannidinardo did not go into detail about how Faerch Plast plans to manufacture the material but says the company aims to make the process “cost neutral” compared to other materials on the market.