Ineos Olefins & Polymers says it has joined the NextLoopp project, which is collaborating to create circular food-grade recycled polypropylene (PP) from postconsumer packaging in the U.K.
Ineos will participate in a two-year project that will inform the building of a demonstration plant in the U.K. that will produce 10,000 metric tons of food-grade recycled PP annually.
NextLoopp was formed in 2021 by Nextek Ltd., a London-based firm that provides expertise in the design, optimization, processing and recycling of plastics. The global multipartipant project made up of organizations from the PP supply chain is designed to address PP recycling by using commercially proven technologies that include markers to separate food-grade PP and decontamination to ensure compliance with food-grade standards in the EU and the USA.
Ineos has a manufacturing base in Grangemouth, Scotland, and product and technical expertise across its European operations. The company will help tailor food-grade recycled PP to converter specifications by blending the material with virgin PP. It also will introduce processing aids to help converters to meet the exacting requirements of brand owners, according to a news release about the initiative issued by Ineos.
The project seeks to validate the food-grade recycled PP manufacturing process and its commercial viability, with the aim of receiving acceptance from the U.K.’s Food Standard Agency (FSA) and European equivalent (EFSA).
Graham MacLennan, polymer business manager Ineos O&P UK, says, “Polypropylene is one of the most versatile plastics in the world—it is also missing from our recycling streams in food-contact applications. In the U.K. alone, we use over 210,000 [metric tons] of PP in our food packaging every year. It is found in pots, tubs and trays. However, the absence of food-grade recycled polypropylene means that all PP food packaging is currently made from virgin plastics. This isn’t unique to the U.K. but a large global issue that Ineos and its partners are determined to change.”
Professor Edward Kosior, founder and CEO of Nextek Ltd. and NextLoopp, says, “We are delighted to welcome the participation of Ineos in helping recycle PP food packaging. Ineos’ commitment to reducing the world’s reliance on virgin plastics and closing the loop on such a prolific polymer as food-grade PP will help create a more circular economy, reduce CO2 emissions and create new materials for brand owners.”
Kosior adds, “NextLoopp looks forward to achieving the goal of creating a long-term solution for PP packaging, enabling all stakeholders to confidently participate in recycling and contributing to a better outcome for all.”