The National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) is concerned that using oxo-degradable and bio-degradable additives may be harmful to recycling systems.
The US trade association first raised concerns about degradable additives almost two years ago but is on the offensive again because they continue to be used and discussed as eco-friendly packaging options.
NAPCOR spokesperson Katie Eagles told FoodProductionDaily.com: “Packaging with additives of this type are being introduced and are actively discussed as a packaging option by our members’ customers (brand product companies) looking for environmentally preferred options. This is of concern since adequate data has not been forthcoming.”
Lack of data
The trade body is concerned that there is insufficient data to support environmental claims. In particular, it is worried about potential harm that could be done when PET packaging containing degradable additives is recycled.
This is because products made from recycled PET could contain additives that may affect their integrity and safety. As there is currently no way of separating out packaging that contains additives using existing sorting technologies so it is difficult to prevent or quantify how much is entering the PET recycling stream.
“Jeopardises PET recycling”
In any case, NAPCOR is convinced that additives are a poor option for brands looking to improve their environmental credentials.
“NAPCOR maintains that the use of degradable additives in PET packaging not only jeopardises PET recycling due to unknown potential consequences, but runs counter to the principles of sustainability and sound environmental stewardship,” stated the association.
Plastics recycling body The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) has reached a similar conclusion.
APR technical director David Cornell said: “Although some data have come in, they are not sufficient to remove doubt about the potential effects of these additives. We are far from assured these products do no harm. On the contrary, we have serious and legitimate concerns that continue unanswered.”
(We fill be running a follow-up article on this subject and would be happy to hear the views of brand owners or suppliers. Please contact me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.)