Sector News

Ineos joins Nextloopp’s polypropylene recycling project for food-grade polymers

January 15, 2022
Energy & Chemical Value Chain

Ineos Olefins and Polymers Europe is joining the pioneering polypropylene (PP) recycling project Nextloopp, supporting its delivery of food-grade recycled content. The chemicals company will orchestrate a pivotal two-year project that will inform the building of a demonstration plant in the UK to produce 10,000 metric tons of recycled polypropylene (rPP) annually.

The project aims to validate the food-grade rPP manufacturing process and its commercial viability to gain acceptance from the UK’s Food Standard Agency and European equivalent.

Nextloopp uses commercially-proven solutions to separate food-grade PP with marker technologies. The technologies include advanced decontamination stages, ensuring compliance with EU and US food-grade standards.

“Ineos’ commitment to reducing the world’s reliance on virgin plastics and closing the loop on such a prolific polymer as food-grade PP will help create a more circular economy, reduce CO2 emissions and create new materials for brand owners,” notes Edward Kosior, founder and CEO of Nextek and Nextloopp.

Kosior recently shone a light on the circular plastics economy and what needs to be done to enhance recycling rates in an Expert View article. Moreover, he explains how recycled plastics can be a weapon against climate change and how not all recycled plastics offer the same levels of carbon efficiency.

Tailoring food-grade rPP
Ineos will help tailor food-grade rPP to converters’ precise specifications by blending it with virgin PP to modify its mechanical and processing properties. This development will take place at its manufacturing base in Grangemouth, UK, with the support of extensive product and technical expertise from across its European operations.

The company will also introduce processing aids to help converters meet brand owners’ exact requirements.

“The absence of food-grade recycled PP means that all PP food packaging is currently made from virgin plastics. This is a large, global problem, and it is something that Ineos and its partners are determined to change,” comments Graham MacLennan, polymer business manager at Ineos Olefins and Polymers UK.

“PP is one of the most versatile plastics in the world – it is also missing from our recycling streams in food contact applications. In the UK alone, we use over 210,000 metric tons of PP in our food packaging every year. It is found in pots, tubs and trays.”

“However, the absence of food-grade rPP means all PP food packaging is currently made from virgin plastics. This [problem] isn’t unique to the UK but a large global issue that Ineos and its partners are determined to change.”

Recycling advancements
In other plastic recycling news, APK has successfully proven it can mass-produce decolorized post-consumer recyclate from mixed waste.

Meanwhile, researchers at Aarhus University, Denmark, have developed a camera machine capable of distinguishing between 12 different types of plastic, making it possible to sort and recycle materials according to their chemical components.

By Joshua Poole

Source: packaginginsights.com

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