CIRCULAR4FOOD project. Closed-loop mechanical recycling of polyolefins for food contact packaging comprising more than 30% recycled material.

The main objective of the project is to develop highly innovative plastic materials and structures based on polyolefins, polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), as well as post-industrial recycled materials and multi-layer PA/PE waste and offcuts, which meet quality standards for use in manufacturing food contact plastic packaging. The project also wants to see at least 30% recycled plastic used in flexible food packaging. We will begin with a traceable, closed external recycling system using a single recycling provider and collaborator to ensure the project is implemented correctly.

The greatest technical challenge is to incorporate high percentages of recycled material. That is, around 50-60% of our extrusion structures. The quality of the raw materials (internal plastic offcuts), correct sorting, and reprocessing with additives to assist in combining incompatible polymers, together constitute the greatest challenge in terms of validating optical and mechanical properties. In that sense, we propose a project based on test verification from the pilot stage through to the pre-industrial scale.

This project will help improve the circular nature of food packaging and transfer scientific knowledge to new solutions coming to market, particularly as it involves the subcontracting of research groups from the University of Jaén and Andaltec. The CIRCULAR4FOOD project is jointly funded by the business RDI incentives programme at the Technology Corporation of Andalusia (CTA).


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