Degradable PET additive maker mounts defense against NAPCOR critique

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Recyclable materials

Wells Plastics has criticised NAPCOR’s latest campaign against degradable additives, claiming that its own oxo-degradable PET additive is recycling friendly.

The PET trade association NAPCOR hit out last week against the continued use of degradable additives in PET packaging, arguing that they may jeopardise the quality of recycled plastic material.

“Recycling friendly”

But UK-based Wells said its Reverte PET additive is recycling friendly within relevant timescales. To ensure this the additive had been designed so that PET bottles remained “fit-for-purpose”​ for 10 to 20 years before breaking down.

Barclay, technical director at Wells, told FoodProductionDaily.com, claimed its tests indicated that even after ten recycling cycles the physical properties of PET containing Reverte were no different to that of ordinary PET.

And he pointed out that the majority of PET bottles are still not recycled, and some are even discarded. The technical director claims that this is where its additive can make a difference.

“It offers a solution to the inadvertent discarding of PET bottles which, as this type of litter persists in the environment for many, many years, gives our customers the environmentally preferred option that NAPCOR has highlighted.”

And Barclay said the company is seeing a lot of interest in the product, even if much of it is coming from smaller companies.

Industry critics

But not everyone is convinced by the arguments. Patrick Rooney, co-founder of Green Plastic Bottle, said that his company has stopped using the Wells additive.

Rooney, whose company is in dispute with Wells and is under a contractual obligation not to say anything negative about the company, said: “Any additives that perpetuate the use of oil for plastic packaging are on the wrong side of history.”

And Michael Stephen, chairman of the Oxo-biodegradable Plastics Association, said the organisation does not support the use of oxo additives in PET.

Stephen said he shared the NAPCOR’s concerns about using degradable additives but objected to the way the US trade association has presented its arguments.

He said: “The problem we have with NAPCOR is that their attacks on oxo-biodegradable additive are being misunderstood as attacks on oxo-biodegradation for all types of plastic- and they never point out that compostable plastics are a threat to the recycling process. Oxo plastics can be recycled with normal plastic but compostable plastics cannot.”

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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