The first semester of 2019 has been a busy one for the PET industry. Next to the Petcore Europe Conference 2019 in February and policy events in the European Parliament, Petcore Europe has also been looking for solutions in its PET Thermoforms Recycling and ODR (Opaque and difficult to recycle PET) Recycling Working Groups. With successful meetings (participation of 45+ companies in each working group) the stage is now set to continue working on circular PET.


On 30 April, Petcore Europe welcomed more than 45 people to a new PET Thermoforms Recycling Working Group meeting focusing on tray to tray recycling trials, mono-material barrier films, de-lamination technologies, digital watermarks and design for recycling. One of the discussed trials was lead by Klöckner Pentaplast with involvement of Valorplast (sorting) and Wellmann International (washing trials). The case study showed that rPET flake from food trays can be extruded into new PET rigid film, which can then be thermoformed back into pots, tubs or trays enabling tray to try recycling.

In order to improve the outcome of the working group and align the PET tray industry, three chairs from industry leaders are now in charge of developing the strategy for PET thermoforms recycling. Ana Fernandez from Klöckner Pentaplast, Paolo Glerean from Aliplast and Nicolas Lorenz from Paccor are leading the group towards a circular economy. For the second half of the year, the objective is clear. Further bigger trials are needed – the attractiveness of recycling PET trays has to be always confirmed and improved – Petcore Europe therefore calls for all converters to support this activity and invest in common trials.


Also Petcore Europe's ODR Working Group has been active. On 28 May, the task force leaders presented the ongoing work to more than 40 participants during a webinar focusing on sleeves and labels, improved collection and sorting including the HolyGrail project, eco-modulation (green dot fees) in different EU countries and many more. In addition, Fabrizio Di Gregorio from Plastics Recyclers Europe presented the Recyclass platform, its three pillars: the test protocol development, Design for Recycling and the Recyclass tool. The focus for the rest of the year will be on improved design for recycling, digital watermarks, perforated sleeves and end applications for recycled ODR material.