BariQ is running a recycling facility for the recycling of post-consumer PET into conventionally recycled PET-flakes (grinded and hot washed). BariQ has in its facility installed a super-clean US FDA approved recycling process for the production of PET granules for direct food contact from suitable for packaging materials.
The BariQ super-clean recycling process uses re-collected post-consumer polyethylene terephthalate (PET) containers of original food grade quality as input material. The input material originates from collections systems such as curbside and deposit collections (no industrial PET-containers). During the process this material is washed, processed and cleaned up in such a way that the output material, the recycled PET pellets, can be used again for the production of new articles for direct contact with foodstuffs.
The BariQ recycling process technology includes basically the following steps:
- Step 1: Grinding of re-collected post-consumer PET containers into flakes followed by an intensive wash process and drying
- Step 2: re-extrusion of dried flakes from step 2 including high temperature vacuum degassing. Subsequently the pellets were crystallized
- Step 3: Deep-cleansing of the pellets from step 3 in a continuous running solid state polycondensation (SSP) process using high temperature and vacuum
Typical food contact applications for the BariQ recyclate are mineral water, soft drinks, juices and beer bottles as well as for PET sheet, cups, punnets and trays. Typical food contact conditions include also long term storage (several months) at room temperature. Additionally, the material can also be used in non-food applications such as detergents, home care, cosmetics and fiber & textile applications.
The crucial parameters of the recycling process are the initial concentration of potential contaminants in the washed flakes before super-clean recycling. In addition residence times of the decontamination reaction, decontamination temperatures as well as the applied vacuum are important for the decontamination process.
The control of possible contamination in the input feedstream and the decontamination during the process includes several steps:
- The first important step is achieved with the recollection system and the characterisation of the input material
- The four key steps of the recycling process technology which are essential for the decontamination efficiency of the recycling process technology follow. In step 1 efficient surface washing occurs followed by volatilisation effects due to the applied drying conditions.
- Under the temperature and under vacuum conditions during the decontamination (step 2: re-extrusion, step 3: SSP reaction) potential contaminants are efficiently removed as long as they are volatile enough. The volatility of potential contaminants corresponds in general with the molecular size. For PET, this leads to an advantageous situation, because PET has a very low diffusivity. Potential contaminants exactly those contaminants which have a potential to enter the PET matrix can be removed again.
- The applied residence times, temperatures and vacuum conditions are essential for the cleaning efficiency. Therefore these parameters are controlled and locked by a data locking system.
- Finally, the increase in the intrinsic viscosity correlates with the decontamination efficiency. The final recyclates would be able to be processed into new containers. The level of intrinsic viscosity needed, is depend of the design, and the end use of the food container.
Some important info:
- The super-clean recycling process is in compliance with the EFSA criteria to be used for safety evaluation of a mechanical recycling process to produce recycled PET intended to be used for manufacture of materials and articles in contact with food (EFSA Journal 2011;9(7):2184)
- The super-clean recycling process is in a position to produce recyclates which are in compliance with Article 3 of the EU Framework Regulation 1935/2004.
- The produced PET recyclate fulfils the requirements for overall migration and specific migration of PET monomers according to EU Regulation 10/2011, in addition to the requirements of Article 4 of the EU Regulation 282/2008.
- The super-clean recycling process fulfils the requirements of the GMP Regulation (EC) 2023/2006.