Recycled plastics for food contact applications

The European Commission granted a financial contribution for research under the Seventh Framework Programme to develop processes and quality procedures for the valorisation of recycled plastics for food contact applications. The three-year project, started on November 2011 and called SupercleanQ, consists of a twelve-strong consortium that has secured 1,916,300 euro of EU funding to develop quality assurance tools and procedures for plastics recycling processes targeted at food contact applications. The tools will be applied to a new process for the recycling of coloured and layered PET into food contact applications that cannot be processed by current PET recycling facilities. The project results will accelerate the development of new recycling processes for the wider food contact materials market and provide quality assurance for converters and end-users of recycled products applications for food contact thereby overcoming barriers and expanding this high value recycling market. The advancements over the current state of the art are expected to be:
– a post-market challenge test for validation of recycled food contact materials with 100% reliability;
– a post-process validation quality protocol for assuring the efficacy of plastics recycling processes for food contact applications with 100% reliability; 
– development of a process to recycle the 700,000 ton per year of currently unrecyclable coloured and layered PET that cannot be processed by existing PET recycling facilities for food contact packaging;
– in-line monitoring for process quality control to identify contaminants from oxodegradable additives, biodegradable plastics, bis-phenol A and non-food contact compliant levels of chemical contamination.

The SuperCleanQ consortium, which will commit a total of 2.4 million euro to the project, is comprised of twelve European organisations, The British Plastics Federation, The University of Exeter and Smithers Rapra from the UK, Assocomaplast, Aliplast and Dentis from Italy, European Plastic Converters and Comite Europeen de Normalisation (supported by Nederlands
Normalisatie Instituut) from Belgium, Machinefabriek Otto Schouten from The Netherlands and S+S Separation and Sorting Technology, Extricom and Fraunhofer from Germany. For more information on the SuperCleanQ project, visit the project website or contact Mr. Girolamo Dagostino.

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