The consortium hopes to deliver valuable results which will enable the European flexible packaging market to respond to growing pressures from both the public and governments to improve the recyclability of flexible packaging.
BOPET Films Europe vice chair Michael Kreuter comments: “We cannot achieve these goals in isolation, and through this Vita Nova initiative we hope to pull together knowledge from across the value chain to improve the circularity of flexible packaging.”
It is the group’s view that mono PET packaging structures have the potential to deliver on all 4 European Plastic Pact targets and enable retailers and brand owners to meet their sustainability pledges.
According to Vita Nova, replacing mixed plastic flexible packaging with mono PET solutions would enable better recyclability, improve resource-efficiency and lead to greenhouse gas emission reductions.
Like the majority of flexible packaging materials, PET-films are not currently sorted and recycled in Europe at scale. Vita Nova aims to address this.
Steven Davies, Chair of BOPET films Europe, says: “It’s a sad fact that currently virtually all flexible packaging is being incinerated. Vita Nova comes from the Latin for ‘new life’, and this is exactly what we are trying to give to flexible packaging by developing a model for true closed-loop recycling.
Mono PET structures offer the packaging industry a best-in-class option in terms of material usage and recycling processes, and are a key element if the industry is to hit the collective goals we have signed up to by 2025.”
The ultimate aim of the Vita Nova initiative is to ensure that flexible PET packaging structures reach their full potential as circular materials – keeping them in the economy and out of incinerators.
Over the next 12 months, the consortium aims to develop and present material redesign options for moving from mixed plastics to mono PET, quality sorting guidelines, and a recycling pathway for PET films, considering both mechanical and monomer recycling.
In addition, the group will reveal design for recycling guidelines for mono PET packaging, as well as launching research into viable end markets for mechanically recycled flexible PET and attempting to prove a closed-loop recycling process for monomer recycling.