INEOS Olefins and Polymers Europe announced today that it will join NEXTLOOPP – the winner of the Packaging Europe’s Sustainability Awards 2021 – to deliver new grades of polypropylene (PP) incorporating recycled content, which companies aim to have certified for the food contact.
INEOS will be at the center of a two-year project that will inform the construction of a demonstration plant in the UK to produce 10,000 tonnes of recycled food grade PP per year.
From its manufacturing base in Grangemouth, Scotland, along with product and technical expertise across Europe, INEOS will help tailor food grade recycled PP to exact converter specifications. According to the company, this will be done by mixing it with virgin PP to change its mechanical and processing properties, and by introducing processing aids to help converters meet exact requirements.
In order to meet UK Plastic Pact targets, ‘hybrid resin’ must contain at least 30% post-consumer recycled content. These guidelines are expected to be introduced in April 2022, with businesses facing tax levies if they fail to comply.
The project aims to validate the food grade recycled PP manufacturing process and its commercial viability, with the aim of obtaining approval from the UK Food Standard Agency (FSA) and the European equivalent (EFSA) .
Graham MacLennan, Polymers Business Manager at INEOS O&P UK, explains: “Polypropylene is one of the most versatile plastics in the world – it is also absent from our recycling streams in food contact applications.
“In the UK alone, we use over 210,000 tonnes of PP in our food packaging every year. It is found in pots, bins and trays.
“However, the lack of recycled food grade polypropylene means that all PP food packaging is currently made from virgin plastic.
“It’s not unique to the UK, but it’s a big global issue that INEOS and its partners are determined to change. “
Last year, INEOS collaborated on a solution for UHT milk bottles produced with PP derived from post-consumer recycled materials.
Professor Edward Kosior, Founder and CEO of Nextek Ltd and NEXTLOOP, adds about the latest partnership: circular economy, reducing CO2 emissions and creating new materials for brand owners.
“NEXTLOOPP looks forward to achieving the goal of creating a long-term solution for PP packaging, allowing all stakeholders to confidently participate in recycling and contribute to a better outcome for all. “