Neil Court-Johnston: We design the structures to give the right barrier properties and stiffness for different products. That will be different from a 100ml apple juice to a 1000 ml milk carton. We don't know yet if there will be any difference in consumer experience when we go to mass market and we have millions of these cartons out. Drop tests, for example, will have to be done customer by customer, but I don't anticipate any problems.
Do you anticipate any challenges around filling machines?
Neil Court-Johnston: Some machines need aluminium to create a heat seal, and Zotefoams doesn't have that, but there's a modification available to address this. Otherwise, it will work on standard machines.
Can ReZorce cartons be recycled with plastics in various different countries?
David Stirling: As far as we know, they can be recycled in every country. Whether the country does recycle or not, that's a different question, but it is compatible with all ETP recycling processes and sorting.
Neil Court-Johnson: We've run recycling trials in Ireland, in the UK, in Germany, and also in North and South America. We're working with recyclers and anticipate certification in the next few weeks. Another aspect to highlight here is scalability. I was involved with Nampak, and the UK dairy roadmap, where we created a closed loop circular recycling system for milk bottles. That's what we're aiming to achieve with ReZorce containers, because they're monomaterial. The only difference between a milk bottle and a ReZorce container is that the HDPE milk bottle is monolayer and ReZorce containers can contain between three and nine layers. Reuse is difficult with monolayer HDPE, as it becomes discoloured, brittle, and quality and performance of the polymer diminishes over the number of cycles. Seams can leak when put under pressure, resulting in customer complaints. We address that issue with our technology.
Would a ReZorce carton from 100% recycled HDPE be possible?
David Stirling: In the future, certainly. Today, most countries do not allow recycled content to be mixed with food or beverages. But if you go into chemical recycling, it comes back essentially as virgin material. In our trials, the highest recycled content rate we achieved was around 70%. We are starting with less than that because of availability of high volumes of good quality recycled materials, but the technology is future proof. As the recycling industry catches up, we can put more and more in. The volumes we're talking about are large, we already have interest for over 500 million cartons. It becomes more difficult to source high quality at high volumes. We want to start at a reasonable level and then grow as the industry grows.
In conclusion, how do Life Cycle Assessments compare to standard cartons/bottles?
Neil Court-Johnson: We worked with Dr. Alan Campbell, who developed one of the most commonly used LCA models. We benchmarked a 1 litre ReZorce beverage carton against the current market standard. It was demonstrated that the process uses eleven times less water, five times less energy, half the carbon emissions, and interestingly, Dr. Campbell also concluded that even where mixed material beverage cartons are recycled, the LCA from ReZorce offers a more attractive solution environmentally.