The Netherlands-headed Avantium N.V., a leading technology provider in renewable chemistry, has announced that it has been granted Critical Guidance Recognition from the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR), a US-based international non-profit and the only North American organisation focused exclusively on improving recycling for plastics.
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The APR Critical Guidance Protocol is one of the most universally accepted measures for assessing recyclability in plastic packaging design. Avantium earned recognition for the use of polyethylene furanoate (PEF), produced with Avantium’s proprietary “YXY Technology”, in a multilayer polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle.
Avantium has developed its YXY Technology to produce furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), the key building block for the 100 percent plant-based and recyclable plastic material PEF.
Avantium is currently constructing the world’s first commercial facility for FDCA in Delfzijl, the Netherlands, which is expected to be operational in 2024, enabling the commercial market launch of PEF.
Combines sustainability and performance
According to the company, PEF has an attractive combination of sustainability and performance characteristics for a wide range of applications, including bottles, packaging, and textiles.
PEF can be used in fully plant-based monolayer PEF bottles but also has advantages in combination with PET.
For example, PEF can be used in multilayer PET bottles as a barrier material, when the required shelf life cannot be guaranteed by a single layer of PET.
Currently, many multilayer PET bottles include nylon as a barrier, which is known to give issues when recycled along the PET recycling stream.
Due to its excellent barrier properties and its close resemblance to PET, a PEF layer is an excellent alternative, having a very limited influence on its recycling process.
For the APR Critical Guidance testing in the US, multilayer PET/PEF bottles containing 7 percent by weight (wt%) and 10 wt% of PEF, were first evaluated by a third-party (Plastics Forming Enterprises LLC) and then reviewed by an independent committee, appointed per the APR Recognition Operating Procedures.
Avantium demonstrated compatibility with standard PET recycling practices, without impacting the physical properties of the recycled PET.
It was concluded that both types of multilayer PET/PEF bottles meet or exceed the most challenging test conditions and strictest APR Critical Guidance criteria.
The inclusion of PEF in the prestigious APR Critical Guidance Protocol marks an important milestone in demonstrating the overall recyclability of PEF. This APR Critical Guidance recognition comes in addition to the already existing interim approval on multilayer PET/PEF and monolayer PEF bottles in Europe by the European PET Bottle Platform (EPBP). With this APR recognition, brand owners and converters can make a confident choice to use PEF as a barrier layer for their PET products. This underlines Avantium’s commitment to enabling renewable high-performance solutions that address the beverage industry’s need for sustainability and recyclability and thus the transition to a circular economy, commented Bart Langius, Commercial Director of Avantium Renewable Polymers.