Austria-based plastic packaging manufacturer Greiner Packaging is working with a customer in Switzerland on a pilot project aimed at the development of a K3 yoghurt cup made from 100% recycled material, in this case, 100% mechanically recycled PS combined with 100% recycled cardboard. The project has been facilitated by Styrenics Circular Solutions, the value chain initiative to accelerate styrenics recycling through the development of new technologies and solutions, of which Greiner is a member.
The goal is to manufacture food packaging from recycled PS.
Greiner has produced yoghurt twin packs to test the solution, and says that the results are ‘very promising’.
The high levels of purity - 99.9% - reached by mechanically recycled PS in tests demonstrate its suitability for mechanical recycling and show the potential to achieve food-grade status. In addition, the carbon footprint of mechanically recycled PS relatively small due to the possibility to create closed material loops. In other words, the recycled material does not need to be mixed with virgin material , enabling a sustainable overall concept to be realised without difficulty.
While the PS recycled plastic used in these tests has yet to be approved for food contact applications, the initial trials offer proof that Greiner Packaging can, in fact, produce yogurt cups with 100% mechanically recycled PS. Certification of the material is already underway.
However, the goal of obtaining food contact approval for 100 percent mechanically recycled PS and its process can only be achieved with the involvement of many companies across the entire value chain, stressed Tobias Strasser, managing director of Greiner Packaging Diepoldsau in Switzerland.
“Our activities in this field are currently focusing on our initial tests with a customer in Switzerland.”
Greiner Packaging employs around 5,000 people at more than 30 locations in 19 countries around the world. In 2019, the company generated annual sales revenues of €690 million (including joint ventures), which represents more than 40% of Greiner’s total revenue.