European power company Fortum, headquartered in Finland, has announced that its Fortum Circo recycled plastic material has been approved for toy applications in the EU.
Fortum Circo is produced from post-consumer plastic waste. This waste is separately collected and delivered to the company’s plastic recycling plant, where it goes through a number of steps - including NIR sorting and separating - prior to being processed and compounded, also at the plant.As the entire process is carried out in-house, Fortum says it can guarantee a consistent quality of recycled raw material ‘from batch to batch and from month to month’.
The overall goal is to have safe materials that reduce the use of virgin plastics, said Mikko Koivuniemi, Business & Technology Development Manager at Fortum. “We already test our materials as part of our R&D process and we were sure of its safety, but the initiative to get our Fortum Circo tested for compliance with the Toy Safety Standard was actually suggested by the customers.”
Having now demonstrated compliance with the EU Toy Safety Standard EN 71-3, Fortum’s Fortum Circo PP, HDPE and LDPE grades will now also be able to be used in an even wider range of products. The EN 71-3 Toy Safety Standard is designed to assess the potential release and migration of chemicals if a toy or components of a toy were to be swallowed by a child. The European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) sets the standards for toy safety.
“Toys must remain safe throughout use in children’s play and under any circumstances the toys are subjected to during child’s play,” said Mikko Koivuniemi. “Our R&D work puts a lot of emphasis on the safety and sustainability of our recycled plastic granules.”
The fact that the use of safe and sustainable recycled material in new applications is important for toy and other product manufacturers is heartening, he noted. “This is the best way to speed up the market uptake for new raw materials like Fortum Circo.”
To ensure that regulations are fit for purpose, material development and regulation must go hand in hand. This means that as raw material producers, Fortum’s responsibility is to ensure the materials it makes are Safe and Sustainable-by-Design. Policymakers, however, on their part must ensure that the regulatory measures relating to a product are coherent, fit for purpose and assessed based on their actual use cases, Koivuniemi added.
“At the same time, the packaging manufacturers need to consider the recyclability of their products and ensure as much of the product as possible can truly be recycled. This is done by making smart raw material choices.”