In-Market Trial Black CPET Trays

12th December 2016

This project aimed to test whether black CPET trays that use alternative colourant previously shown to be successfully detected and separated automatically*, could potentially be recycled back into packaging.

Key points:
Feasibility studies proved that CPET trays using an alternative colourant to black could be detected by sorting equipment
This project demonstrated it is possible to incorporate detectable black pigments into ready meals products, recover the trays, sort and recycle these back into food grade trays

Overview

Overview

M&S, Sainsbury’s and leading industry organisations worked together to demonstrate the ability to manufacture, distribute and recover detectable black CPET trays through household recycling collections. Once recovered at the material recovery facility (MRF), the trays were flaked and assessed for their suitability for remanufacturing into food grade black CPET trays. It is expected that these findings are relevant to all involved in the supply, collection and recovery of plastics

Key findings

  • The premium British ready meal sector is growing year on year, and the use of black CPET is increasing both in the market and the waste stream. An estimated 30,000 tonnes of black CPET packaging from the household ended up in landfill or energy recovery in 2013.
  • Feasibility studies proved that CPET trays using an alternative colourant to black could be detected by sorting equipment.
  • This project demonstrated it is possible to incorporate detectable black pigments into ready meals products, recover the trays, sort and recycle these back into food grade trays.
  • The availability and recovery of enough detectable black CPET material is paramount for the recycling process to work. This requires investment and support to prove its operational and economic viability in full scale commercial conditions.

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