NEXTLOOPP, the global multi-participant project aimed at closing the loop on food-grade polypropylene (PP), says it has “successfully” concluded the first full-scale packaging production trial using its PPristine food-grade resins for Mannok Pack’s dairy tubs and lids.

Mannok Pack ran the trials at its County Cavan facility, producing its 500g Dairy Spread Tubs and Lids through injection moulding with an in-mould label, conventional sheet extrusion, and thermoforming. For the trials, the company reportedly incorporated NEXTLOOPP’s food-grade recycled PP resin, PPristine, into the packs.

According to NEXTLOOPP and Mannok Pack, the finished packs showed “excellent” visual and processing characteristics, with what the companies claim are “minor but acceptable” product variations between the 30% rPP pack and the virgin PP pack.

Helen Roberts, Robinson PLC’s CEO, comments: “We were delighted with the results of these initial trials using the food-grade rPP material from NEXTLOOPP that produced very similar aesthetics and performance to our current virgin-based products and little disruption to the manufacturing line.”

Mark McKenna, Mannok Pack’s general manager, says that “the packs made with the recycled PP material looked great and demonstrated the potential for this project”. McKenna adds that he “feels confident the project is poised to help the industry move towards closing the loop on food-grade PP”, while Professor Edward Kosior, founder of Nextek Ltd and NEXTLOOPP, is reportedly “delighted” with the results of the first trial. 

NEXTLOOPP was the overall winner of Packaging Europe’s 2021 Sustainability Awards. The project is currently finalising the dossiers for its applications to the EFSA and USFDA for food-grade accreditation, as well as working in conjunction with industry bodies to advise on new design guidelines for food-grade circular recycling based on the findings of the trial with Mannok Pack.