APR issues statement on the potential impact of PEF on PET recycling


The recent announcement by Synvina, a Joint Venture of Avantium and BASF based in the Netherlands, regarding commercial production of PEF, a new polyester condensation polymer, has led to industry discussion regarding the potential impact on traditional PET polyester used for making bottles, sheet, and films for packaging.

Following the interim approval of the European PET Bottle Platform (EPBP), The Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) and North American plastic recyclers would like to verify the claim that up to 2% of Synvina’s PEF would be compatible in the existing PET recycling stream.
The APR recommends the following evaluations:
• impact on FDA and Health Canada compliance for blends of low levels of PEF in recycled PET
• impact of beverage and food packaging made with PEF in states that have deposit legislation.
• educational opportunities for materials recovery facilities on strategies for sorting packaging made with PEF.
• creating new Model Bale Specifications to include allowed levels of PEF.
Further testing to confirm whether low levels of PEF can be blended into recycled PET (RPET) without a negative impact on processing of RPET, as well as the leading products made from RPET including bottles, thermoforms, strapping, sheet, textile and carpet fibers.
“We appreciate the fact that Synvina has shared their information with the industry. It is encouraging to have preliminary evidence that PEF might be included in the PET recycling stream at low levels. APR will be conducting further testing with Synvina to determine levels of compatibility with PET recycling over the next several months,” said Steve Alexander, President of APR.
Patrick Schiffers, CEO of Synvina, confirmed that his company was committed to contributing to a circular economy with high barrier packaging from Synvina's bio-based PEF. The EPBP interim approval in Europe is a major milestone for us and we will continue to work closely with our partners to further assess PEF's recyclability and the compatibility with the PET stream.”