The Danish professional journal Ingeniøren (The Engineer) reports that Holstebro-based plastics converter Færch Plast has become one of the first in the world to produce packaging for the food industry which utilizes plastic from recycled carbonated soft drink bottles. The recycled material is the widely used thermoplastic PET*, and the big advantage of its reuse is that it significantly reduces CO2 emissions associated with the manufacture of the new plastic item.
The recycled plastic bottles are rinsed and pulverised before being melted in the extruder. Færch Plast estimates that if the recycled PET (called "RPET") accounts for half the material in a new product, the associated CO2 emission is reduced by 40%.
Many consumers will naturally question whether the RPET used in the new packaging comes into direct contact with the food. The answer is no, because the RPET is used as an inner layer in a multilayer sandwich film, the outer layers of which are used to produce either different qualities of surface finish or to enhance mechanical properties such as impact or stress resistance.
Færch Plast specialises in packaging solutions for the food industry and retail trade. The company, which has a subsidiary in the UK, a sales office in France and agents and dealers in many other European countries, established Færch Plast Norden in 1997 as a division handling sales in the Nordic region.
Færch Plast's revenues in 2005 totalled DKK 744.5 m (USD 147.3 m). About 86% of the company's production is exported.
*Polyethylene terephthalate. It is a lightweight yet strong plastic with good optical and barrier properties. Soft drink bottles are often made from 100% PET which makes them ideal recycling candidates – Ed.