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RIGID PACKAGING | INNOVATION


Unleashing the potential in rigid packaging


Alliances from organisations spanning all parts of the value chain are being formed to find new solutions for rigid packaging recycling. Mark Holmes finds out what’s new


There are a number of initiatives worldwide that are looking for new solutions in plastics recycling by forming alliances across the value chain to promote and drive the quality of recycled plastics and their increased re-use. One such project in rigid packag- ing recycling for polypropylene (PP) is NEXTLOOPP, conceived and organised by Nextek – a UK-based consultancy providing sustainable solutions in polymers and recycling. Nextek was founded in 2004 by Prof Edward


Kosior to provide expertise in the design, optimisa- tion, processing and recycling of post-consumer plastics. “I applied scientific principles to recycling to ensure that PET and HDPE recycled plastics could be manufactured to food contact standards,” says Kosior. “This eventually led to a focus on PP and the enhanced separation of food-grade materials from non-food materials to facilitate the achievement of EU standards. Over the years one of the most pressing enquiries I regularly received working with convertors, retailers and brand owners related to unlocking the value in PP and


www.plasticsrecyclingworld.com


turning it into high quality food-grade rPP. This has been the key driver behind the multi-participant NEXTLOOPP project.” Kosior adds that PP is one of the most versatile polymers on the market and it is found everywhere. From pots, tubs and trays to textiles and cars, even the surgical masks the world is now wearing are made from PP, he says. This ubiquitous polymer makes up 20% of global plastics production, a figure that is growing at 6% per annum. In 2018, 56m tonnes were produced – valued at $97bn – and it has been estimated that by 2025 around 83m tonnes will be produced, worth $147bn. In the UK, for example, about 300,000 tpa of PP is used in packaging of which about 70% (210,000 tonnes) is food-grade packaging. “Yet despite this, post-consumer PP is hardly


recycled, even in developed countries – only 15% in the EU and 5% in the USA,” says Kosior. “Worse still, to date, there is no food-grade recycled PP available for re-use into new packaging. Given its popularity, the fact that PP has evaded the recy-


September 2021 | PLASTICS RECYCLING WORLD 47


Main image: The Ambiente Deo 2000 oval deodorant stick from Berry Bramlage is now being produced with 95% coloured PCR plastic


IMAGE: BERRY BRAMLAGE


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