Shortlisted in the ‘Recyclable Packaging’ category of our Sustainability Awards 2022, Starligner viscotec’s rPET100 sheet material is made from 100% recycled content and is fully recyclable itself while being heat-resistant up to 100 °C. We spoke to the company about the solution, which is aimed at enabling closed-loop recycling for thermoformed plastic packaging.
You’re a finalist in the Sustainability Awards 2022. Congratulations! To start off, could you summarise your entry, rPET100 sheet material, in less than 50 words?
rPET100 sheet material is the first packaging material which is made from 100% recycled content, 100% recyclable in food-grade quality, and heat-resistant up to 100 °C at the same time. This makes it the environmentally sustainable alternative to single-use cups, tubs, and trays made from polyolefins.
Why do you think the judges were impressed with your entry? Tell us about what is innovative about your project and/or about its impact on packaging sustainability.
The unique benefit of the packaging material is: it is designed for recycling, and it is made from recycled PET (rPET). New markets and new applications like dairy packaging can be served, thanks to the heat-resistant of the rPET100 material compared to amorphous rPET. rPET100 packaging solutions have an unbeatably small CO2 footprint since they can be recycled from cup to cup, or from tray to tray in a closed loop.
How has your innovation/initiative been received?
The new material got a lot of attention in the packaging industry as well as from recyclers and converters, not only in Europe but across the globe. It is attractive to produce rPET100 sheet material because production builds on existing recycling technology and the material is thermoformable in a single-stage process like conventional PET, polypropylene, or polystyrene.
You’re shortlisted for the Recyclable Packaging category. What do you see as the key demands, challenges and opportunities in relation to recycling packaging?
In Europe, recycled PET is currently the only plastic recyclate that is considered safe for food and beverage packaging, thus it is the only material which is suitable for truly circular packaging solutions. It is crucial to keep the material in the food packaging recycling loop, and not to downcycle rPET into lower-quality applications.
Proper Design for Recycling is the key demand and prerequisite to close the loop with thermoformed packaging solutions like trays, tubs and cups. We see a big potential in tray-to-tray recycling. An important step to put tray-to-tray recycling into action is to only put packaging on the market which can be recycled and reprocessed into high-quality products such as food packaging. rPET100 sheet material shows the path to circular packaging and will revolutionize dairy packaging.
The winners of this Sustainability Awards category will be announced at a dinner taking place at the Sustainable Packaging Summit in Lisbon on 13th-14th September 2022. To attend the ceremony, register here.