Sidel opens hub to develop design for recycling primary packaging
Sidel has opened a new hub dedicated to PET recycling.
At its small-scale PET recycling pilot line in Octeville, France, Sidel will develop its understanding of PET recycling with the aim of giving comprehensive support to the market as it switches to greater use of recycled PET.
Seeking carbon neutrality, the packaging industry is in the middle of a transition period that aims to replace virgin PET with recycled PET. Demand for r-PET is increasing and the market is developing as brand owners seek carbon neutral solutions. The amount of recycled PET in packaging globally has increased to 8% compared to 5% in 2018. In Europe, the average is already 15% and is projected to grow to 35% in 2030 (source: Ellen MacArthur Foundation Global Commitment 2021 progress report).
Sidel is engaging with this transition to circular packaging solutions, enabling r-PET to be more widely used. The small-scale PET recycling line will allow Sidel to develop advanced knowledge about the recycling of food-contact PET bottles.
As packaging experts assess the impact of additives and primary packaging materials on r-PET resin, Sidel said the facility will become an important reference for raw material producers, recyclers and recycling regulatory organisations.
“There is a big move towards recycled PET, but demand is outstripping supply,” says Naima Boutroy, Sidel’s global packaging expert. “The market still has a lot to learn and we can provide valuable insights. There is a variability in recycled PET resin grades, and standardisation is still in development. We need to address this to create the best possible finished bottles.
“Our line will test the recyclability of post-consumer PET bottles from different feed stocks, including additives and caps as well as labels, inks and glue. We will be working with traditional Sidel customers such as brand owners, converters and co-packers, as well as other suppliers like raw material producers, recyclers and regulatory organisations, to enable the scaling-up of r-PET capacity. We can also check any innovations comply with bottle-to-bottle recycling.”
Sidel’s new line will take raw material from industrial partners such as sorting facilities, recyclers and brand owners. It will then recreate and study all aspects of the process from bales to flakes including pellets ready to be injected into preform, injection and blow moulding.
Sidel said it will give the packaging industry the opportunity to access a fully equipped pilot line. This line covers every step of the recycling process: from washing, drying and pellet extrusion, to solid-state polymerisation, including dedicated process and laboratory controls at every step.