Polymark - An ambitious EU-funded research project - has been launched, which aims to increase the availability of recycled PET from used bottle to new bottle, and to contribute to the EU’s circular economy.
Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) combines the ability to be used for innovative packaging with the capability to be recycled, and is by far the most recycled plastic material in Europe.
More than 60 billion PET bottles were collected and recycled in 2012, representing 52 percent of all discarded PET bottles sold in Europe. Almost 30 percent of the total amount of recycled PET is already being used to produce new PET bottles. The circular bottle-to-bottle use is growing rapidly.
Currently, the availability of recycled PET suitable for reuse into beverage packaging is limited. This is because collected beverage bottles can be mixed with other PET bottles that are unsuitable for use in food packaging. The Polymark project aims to dramatically increase the availability of recycled PET for the production of new beverage containers. It will develop a technology for the automated detection and sorting of suitable PET bottles. The use of recycled plastics for food contact is wisely and strictly guided by EFSA, the European Food Safety Authority.
Polymark is an EU-funded collaborative project under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) scheme. The Consortium consists of Petcore Europe, the European Federation of Bottled Waters (EFBW), Plastic Recyclers in Europe (PRE), the European Association of Plastics Recycling and Recovery (EPRO), 4PET Recycling BV, and Closed Loop Recycling Ltd. The Research and Technology Developers are ColorMatrix, Fraunhofer Institut IPMS, Pera Technology Ltd (UK Health & Environment Research Institute) and S+S (Sesotec).
”PET is the largest plastic material recycled in Europe”, said Roberto Bertaggia, President of Petcore Europe, the Coordinator of the Polymark project. ”The technology developed will help meet the growing demand for high quality PET suitable for food contact applications”.
”We are thrilled to be contributing to the Polymark project”, said Patricia Fosselard, Secretary General of the European Federation of Bottled Waters. “All packaging used by the bottled water industry is 100 percent recyclable. By enabling us to sort the various types of plastic packaging, we will be able to recycle more PET back into bottled water packaging or other beverages bottles, hereby further increasing the sector’s contribution to circular economy”.
The project’s budget is 2.2 million Euros, of which the EU has contributed 1.478 million. The Polymark project will run for 36 months.