Since the launch of Starlinger’s first PET recycling line in 2003, the Austrian company hasestablished itself worldwide as a supplier of high-end technology for bottle-to-bottlerecycling and high viscosity applications. The technology, based on the Starlinger iV+process, reduces the acetaldehyde content in recycled PET (rPET) granulate to < 1 ppmand ensures thorough decontamination (including removal of additives such as oxygenscavengers) while enhancing the IV (intrinsic viscosity) considerably – thus making therPET suitable for reuse in food packaging and beverage bottles.
At this year’s drinktec in Munich (September 14-19), Starlinger’s presentation of its latest advances in bottle-to-bottle recycling met with enthusiastic visitor interest. The company welcomed about 170 visitors from 50 countries at the Starlinger booth. Guests were served beverages from Mineralquellen Wuellner of Bielefeld, Germany, in 0.5 litre bottles: These bottles were made using 30% rPET, produced on a Starlinger recoSTAR PET 165 iV+ recycling line by BtB PET-Recycling , also of Bielefeld. The visitors for the most part represented beverage bottling plants and preform producers, as well as brand owners investigating the possibilities for use of rPET in their packaging.
A worldwide surge of interest in bottle-to-bottle recycling was noticeable at drinktec: Reduction of carbon footprint and economy of resources remain vital issues, and many countries and regions are increasing pressure on the public and industry to meet goals for collection and reuse of PET. In 2008, about 12.8 million tons of PET bottles were produced worldwide (source: PCI), and demand continues to increase. More and more people are able to afford CSD (Carbonated Soft Drinks), and the use of bottled water is on the rise. Other growing market segments for PET bottles are beer (in place of glass bottles), fruit and vegetable juices, as well as tea and isotonic beverages.
Parallel to drinktec a two-day PET World Congress was held, at which Elfriede Hell, division general manager of Starlinger recycling technology, gave a comprehensive talk on the topic of "Food-contact issues for rPET". She discussed in detail the standards the bottle-to-bottle recycling process must meet, as well as the procedures for food contact suitability certification by the United States FDA (Food and Drug Administration), the EFSA in the European Union or other national certifications.
One of Starlinger’s highest priorities is achieving brand-owner approvals. In order to protect their brand, those (usually) global players have especially stringent requirements concerning repeatable high decontamination results in recycling processes. Every single flake must meet the prescribed process parameters in order to pass through the system. The proven recoSTAR first-in first-out philosophy has satisfied the requirements of two major brand-owners.
Although only on the market since 2003, Starlinger PET recycling lines are used in many fields of application and many countries by now. In the past two years alone, Starlinger lines with a total recycling capacity of approx. 110 000 t/year have been installed.
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