On February 16, 2018, the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing Aids (CEF Panel) published two scientific opinions on the post-consumer polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recycling processes ‘EstPak Plastik’ and ‘Concept Plastic Packaging.’ Both processes are based on on the Starlinger Decon technology.
The processes use hot caustic washed and dried PET flakes from post-consumer PET containers, mainly bottles, comprising no more than 5% PET from non-food consumer applications, as input. The PET flakes are preheated and then submitted to solid-state polycondensation (SSP) in a continuous reactor at high temperature under vacuum and gas flow. Challenge tests demonstrated that the recycling processes can ensure to limit the migration of potential unknown contaminants to 0.1 μg/kg food. Therefore, the CEF Panel concluded that recycled PET (rPET) produced from the processes ‘EstPak Plastik’ and ‘Concept Plastic Packaging’ is safe for the manufacture of food contact materials and articles with up to 100% rPET content. Finished materials and articles are intended to be used “for contact with all types of foodstuffs for long-term storage at room temperature, with or without hotfill,” the CEF Panel explained. Further, the CEF Panel noted that trays made of these two types of rPET should not be used in microwave and conventional ovens.
CEF (February 16, 2018). “Safety assessment of the process ‘EstPak Plastik’, based on Starlinger Decon technology, used to recycle post-consumer PET into food contact materials.” EFSA Journal 16(2):5165.
CEF (February 16, 2018). “Safety assessment of the process ‘Concept Plastic Packaging’, based on Starlinger Decon technology, used to recycle post-consumer PET into food contact materials.” EFSA Journal 16(2):5166.