Plastic sorting technology based on chemical markers

Invited by Petcore Europe and the European Federation of Bottled Waters (EFBW) to a Workshop held in Brussels on 15 March, more than 80 experts from the PET value chain, brand owners and researchers gained an insight into Polymark, a European project that has developed a new technology enabling the identification and sorting of polymers, focusing on PET as a start, in the high-value plastics waste stream.
We believe that sensor-based sorting technologies hold a key to enabling circular economy for plastics, providing high-grade sorting and boosting recycling quality and yield. Aside from the technical progress made during the Polymark project, we have seen how the entire value chain has embraced marker-based sorting as a crucial next step in improving plastics recycling“, explained consortium partner An Vossen from EPRO in the introduction video of the Polymark project.

Peter Reinig, Group Leader Photonic Sensing from the Fraunhofer IPMS, presented the work undertaken by former HERI on the development of the chemical marker. Within Polymark a chemical food contact approved marker was identified which is used for coating on a bottle or on a label. After identification and sorting, this coated marker can be subsequently removed by existing recycling plant washing.
The focus of the second technical presentation, also presented by Reinig, was on the development of a spectral identification technology that detects the marker and decodes the information in order to separate the post-consumer plastic packaging. This Polymark detection principle for sorting is based on UV-excitation and VIS-fluorescence. It is capable of sorting food-grade PET bottles at 3 m/s conveyor belt speed with spatial resolution of 10 mm.

image
Finally, Hans Eder, Head of R&D at Sesotec, explained the development and functionality of the Polymark industrial scale sorting system. Its marker detection setup is built from two basic units: a high energy UV light unit for excitation of the marker and a highly sensitive camera to detect the weak fluorescence signals emitted from the marker. This Polymark sorting machine is able to achieve an output purity of 98% on the major input fraction.
After the presentations, participants – physically present in the workshop or having joined via webinar – raised a number of questions and comments. Regarding the question if this project will be further developed commercially and also potentially translate into EU policy, Casper van den Dungen, Vice-President of the Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE), stated that the Polymark project is providing a first platform for the industry to communicate on tracer technologies. The recyclers are now encouraging Europe to harmonise and standardise the use of such innovative sorting solutions. It is important to keep in mind that there are still a number of barriers, and further discussions are needed amongst all interested stakeholders. “However, Polymark marks a starting point and gives a certainty that such innovation is possible“, he concluded.
All training presentations as well as further information are publically available on the Polymark website www.polymark.org.

Advertisements

MEETINGPACK 2017 in VALENCIA

image_thumb[1]The international meeting MeetingPack 2017 will be held on 30 and 31 May in Valencia (Spain). It is organized by AINIA CENTRO TECNOLÓGICO and AIMPLAS and it will bring together more than 300 experts in food plastic packaging from different countries. 

The event brings together the whole food packaging value chain. Big food multinationals, packaging, materials and packaging equipment manufacturers, as well as representatives of the distribution sector and other agents, such as public managers that plan the management and control policies in Europe, experts in food legislation and technologists will attend the event. Some of the companies that have already confirmed the attendance are UBE, Dow Chemical, Repsol, M&G and Danone.

image_thumb[3]This edition focuses on the topic «Convenience: Driving Barrier Packaging Innovation», where the big global technologic challenges in this field will be discussed, challenges like barrier materials, new manufacturing and packaging systems, sealable and reclosable materials, additive manufacturing, industry 4.0, sustainable packages and recycling, active packages and advances in quality test and control. To see the programm of MWEETINGPACK 2017, click HERE.

Packages, in particular with barrier material, play a current and future demand-driven key role of the convenience requirement of European consumers and the challenge of overcoming the food waste or the need of increasing the shelf life of products and the food safety.

Furthermore, it coincides with the event Made From Plastic 2017, which had more than 100 exhibitors and 3,500 visitors in its last editions.

SAVE FOOD Meeting 2015: a success

image_thumb[3]The SAVE FOOD Meeting 2015, held on 11 and 12 May at Nestlé in Vevey, Switzerland, was rated as a complete success by the partners, the FAO, UNEP and Messe Düsseldorf. The SAVE FOOD is an international innitiative to  fight against food losses and waste. The response from international participants from induimage_thumb[1]stry, politics and science as well as the representatives of NGOs was also one of great satisfaction. With 173 participants from 12 nations, the meeting was the first of its kind at the location of a brand manufacturer from the food industry, and set the pattern for regular events to be held in the years between interpack trade fair editions.

MeetingPack 2015: innovations in food packaging

A transparent plastic can for canned food, oxygen absorbers that increase the food shelf-life and bags to pack wine or oil are some of the innovations lunched during MeetingPack2015, the packaging conference held in Valencia from 25th to 26th of February.

image_thumbKortec has launched a transparent plastic can that can be used for packaging food that used to be packaged in metallic cans. They permit to keep the food shelf-life up to five years.

Absorbers

In Europe 95 kg of food are wasted per person per year, five times more than in Japan. One option for increasing the shelf-life of sensible-to-oxygen-action packaged food is through the incorporation of oxygen scavengers, as Mitsubishi has done, capable to remove the remaining oxygen from inside the packages, in order to avoid the oxidation reactions that damage food and increase the shelf-life in a healthier way. The oxygen scavengers can be included as extern agents to the package, as labels or little bags inside. This kind of technology is really used in Japan because of its oxidation prevention qualities, changes of food colour, but it is not so extended in Europe. One of the advantages of oxygen scavengers is that they do not need additional industrial equipment to use these technologies. It also prevents the oxidation of oils and fat, so a better preservation of the nutritional qualities of the food is obtained.

Continue reading

Plastics Recycling Conference during INTERPACK

imagePRE – Plastics Recyclers Europe is organising an international conference to be held on 8 May during the INTERPACK fair in Dusseldorf, Germany. The conference will gather the worlds of plastics recyclers, plastics packaging producers, brand owners and EU policy makers. Representatives of European Commission and entrepreneurs will debate and discuss pressing issues within plastics packaging design and its recycling.
Today, products are very often designed without any real knowledge of their actual recyclability. However, design of a packaging has a detrimental impact on the recycling. Consequently, the first step in minimalizing a negative impact of a product on the environment shall be its design.
During the Recycling Conference in Düsseldorf Plastics Recyclers Europe will launch RecyClass, a platform for recyclability assessment, which is the key step in ensuring better recycling of plastic packaging. This tool will help packaging designers to find the correct way to approach and evaluate their new products.
The conference programme is available HERE. More information about this conference is available HERE.

Innovations and ideas for the beverage and liquid food industry

The "World’s Leading Trade Fair for the Beverage and Liquid Food Industry" – drinktec 2013 – takes place in Munich from September 16 to 20, 2013. Here, around 1,500 exhibitors from approximately 70 countries will be showcasing products and solutions across the entire spectrum of beverage and liquid food technology – packaging and marketing ideas included. Around 60 percent of the exhibiting companies come from outside Germany and the exhibition is expected to attract around 60,000 trade visitors from all over the globe.image

"Processing + Filling + Packaging + Marketing" – the new subtitle for drinktec says it all. More than just a technology showcase, this event covers everything of importance to the beverage and liquid food sector worldwide. As well as its function as a technology and innovations platform, drinktec is also a gigantic ideas and information forum, a meeting place for exchanging views and for communication. It is this mix which attracts trade visitors from all areas of the companies. Global beverages, food and retailing groups are represented here as well as smaller, regionally focused breweries, for example.

Continue reading

CAPS conference in April

The  conference Plastic Closures Innovations 2013 will take place on 23-25 April in Cologne.  Brand owners, fillers, closures producers, packaging manufacturers, designers and suppliers will debate the latest developments in the plastics caps and closures industry, with a particular focus on adding value and optimising results across the supply chain. The conference is organised by AMI, sponsored by HRS Multitech and ColorMatrix, and supported by numerous table-top exhibitors.
 
Plastic Closure Innovations will serve as a platform for the leading closures suppliers to present their innovations. GCS will discuss intuitive tamper evidence solutions designed for Nestlé Waters products. Menshen will introduce new dosing solutions, while Weener Plastik will pinpoint the importance of precise dosing through valve closures. Fluid dispensing innovations for homecare products will be announced by MWV, while Rexam Healthcare’s presentation will focus on multidose dispensing for pharmaceuticals.
 
The conference will stress the significance of the cooperation in the supply chain. Reckitt Benckiser will talk about their requirements in delivering innovation in the hygiene segments. The machinery suppliers will come forward and explain their processing technology advancements. Engel, Schoettli and Husky will discuss innovative concept changes in closure moulding. Sacmi and Arburg will focus on increasing production efficiency and achieving synergies to reduce production cost. Furthermore, Hofmann will explain how to reduce cycle times with conformal cooling though laser cusing tool inserts, while Intravis will talk about the merits of visual quality inspection with image processing software.   
 
Improvements in production efficiency are also achieved with material innovations. Milliken will explain the advantages of polyolefin nucleation, while Total will discuss how to increase margins with innovative PP grades selection.  
    
The packaging market insights will be presented by AMI Consulting (based on its authoritative multi-client study), Futureau Consulting and Euromonitor. Regulatory framework will be summarised by Steptore&Johnson and IVM.

For more information, contact Ms. Rocio Martinez.