The bioplastics industry moves another step forward: the European PET Bottle Platform (EPBP) – a voluntary initiative of industry organizations representing waste collectors, plastic recyclers, PET material producers and brand owners – has given interim approval for the recyclability of polyethylenefuranoate (PEF), produced by Synvina, the Joint Venture between Avantium and Basf, in the European bottle recycling market.
Following EPBP’s assessment PEF bottles are expected to be disposable through existing recovery systems the same way as polyethylene terephthalate (PET), the conventional material for plastic bottles. The interim approval applies to a PEF market penetration of up to 2%. This corresponds to the amount of PEF that could be produced from Synvina’s intended 50,000 tons reference plant for furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA). FDCA made from renewable resources is the main building block for PEF. A final statement based on PEF quality, packaging designs and regional launch markets will be issued before market introduction of the novel material.
“EPBP confirms that consumers are expected to be able to return or dispose PEF bottles the way they are used to do with PET bottles. This is a major milestone for our innovative material based on renewables”, says Patrick Schiffers, CEO of Synvina. “The recyclability – he continues – has become one of the most important aspects for the packaging industry to meet the standards of the circular economy. EPBP’s interim approval confirms that with PEF we are able to offer solutions for our customers to meet these standards.”
PEF quantities in the European packaging market are expected to exceed the 2% market share on a medium term. Therefore, Synvina works jointly with recyclers and brand owners to develop a dedicated recycling stream for PEF based bottles to separate the valuable PEF from conventional plastics. PEF recycling in other markets like the US and Japan will be reviewed near-time.
PEF is a bio-based plastic with improved barrier properties for gases like carbon dioxide and oxygen which leads to a longer shelf life of packaged products. “With its recyclability, Synvina’s PEF offers a significant advantage to the packaging industry in comparison to alternative bio-based plastics or barrier materials”, the company headquartered in Amsterdam claims. “Moreover, it also offers a higher mechanical strength, thus thinner PEF packaging can be produced and fewer resources are required. PEF is suitable as the main component or as a barrier layer in cups and trays, flexible packaging as well as bottles for carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinks, water, dairy products, still and sports drinks, alcoholic beverages as well as personal and home care products”.