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Sustainability Leaders Awards 2012


Waste & Resource Management WINNER: Nextek


Nextek has pioneered a packaging first by developing a closed loop process for food grade post-consumer recycled polypropylene packaging


Polypropylene (PP) is the biggest single plastic used in packaging yet is a very challenging material to recycle – cur- rent rates put it at 7% compared to 70% and 50% respectively for other polymer types such as HDPE and PET. Typically PP is used in packaging items such as meat trays, fruit punnets, yoghurt tubs and margarine containers. As 90% of these items are non-bottle, they present a challenge for reprocessors to identify and separate out. To address this problem, Nextek has developed a technology that allows PP packaging to be completely decontami- nated and reused in a closed loop model where it can re-enter the food packag- ing supply chain. This ultimately will


L-r: compere Sue Perkins, Ecolateral founder Peter Jones, Ed Kosior, Nextek


enable recycled PP to displace virgin PP with savings on resources, emissions and landfill. With funding help from the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), Nextek embarked on a challenge to engi- neer a process that could upcycle waste


PP to a quality equivalent to virgin plas- tic. Large scale trials with post-consumer PP packaging waste showed that decon- taminated PP is fully food contact com- pliant under severe cooking conditions at levels of at least 25% and 50% with- out processing issues.


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