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Improved recycling process of PET soft drink bottles into food quality PET


The yearly PET production for soft drink bottles in the EU amounts 800 000 tonsOnly 7 5% (60 000 tons/year) of this PET is recycled into low qualityapplications as strapping or packaging in the non food industry 740 000 tonsPET/year are burned or land filled This wouldn' t be necessary if PET could be recycled in the food packaging industry (closed circle) To reach the goal ofrecycling PET in the food packaging (soft drink bottle-) industry the shapequality and safety of the recycled PET have to be improved Presently recycledPET has a flake shape and is only washed with water mechanically cleaned andsorted A new process installation (start recycling in August 1997) will produceregranulated PET of a satisfying shape after melting The objective of thePET-RECYCLE project is to research the melting and post condensation process ofthe new process installation in order to improve the recycled PET to foodquality level During the melting process the PET will be de-gassed to eliminatetoxic inclusions that could migrate into the (soft drink) content of the bottleof recycled PET Post condensation will lengthen the molecule structure andallow a second de-gassing of toxic inclusions. Post Condensation will alsoinfluence the clearness of the recycled material If these technical issues are under control approval of the different food and drug administrations in the EUhas to be granted The research necessary for this food quality approval will besubcontracted to RTD performers (CRAFT) A new market for recycled re-granulatedPET will he created (0.8 million tons/year) and collected post consumer PETwon' to have to be burned or land filled This will save virgin raw materialstrengthen the position of EU PET recycle companies against US competitors and create 100 to 200 new jobs in the PET recycle industry in the EU. The EUrecycle objective (941621EU) to recycle at least IS% of packaging material canbe met for PET bottles after completion of the PET-RECYCLE project

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Textplast BV
EU contribution
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6802 CA Arnhem

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