Unilever have introduced a new recycling method that turns PET plastic into food grade packaging, and claim that the technology is capable or using coloured PET plastics into transparent food grade plastics. The company have partnered with Ioniqa and Indorama Ventures to trial this new technology.
The new technology has passed the pilot stage and is undergoing further trials on an industrial scale, and Unilever have claimed that if the trials are successful, all PET plastics could be recycled into food grade packaging in the future.
The new method has been developed by Ioniqa, who are based in Eindhoven. The technology breaks down packaging to a molecular level and separates colours and any other contaminants. After this, the molecules can then be converted to PET material, which was certified at Indorama’s testing facility as ‘virgin-grade quality’.
Earlier in the year Unilever’s CEO Paul Polman called for companies to tackle the plastic pollution problem, and committed to making all of their packaging reusable, compostable or recyclable by 2025.
Unilever’s chief R&D officer, David Blanchard said: “We want all of our packaging be fit for a world that is circular by design, stepping away from the take-make-dispose model that we currently live in. This innovation is particularly exciting because it could unlock one of the major barriers today – making all forms of recycled PET suitable for food packaging. Indeed, making the PET stream fully circular would be a major milestone towards this ambition, not just helping Unilever, but transforming industry at large.”