Starlinger & Co Gesellschaft m.b.H.

Positive EFSA opinions for Starlinger PET iV+ process

Starlinger PET iV+ process
The European Food Safety Authority EFSA has issued positive opinions for recyclers of PET intended for food contact using the Starlinger PET iV+ technology.

In August and December 2012 EFSA published the first opinions on food safe PET recycling processes which will serve as a base for the authorisation of recycling processes by the European commission and the member states. Among them were positive evaluations for all recycling companies which produce recycled PET pellets from PET materials and articles using the Starlinger recoSTAR PET iV+ technology or the recoSTAR PET FG technology: Preformia (Finland), STF (Germany), MPTS (Poland), PET to PET (Austria), Eco Plastics (UK), BtB (Germany), PRT (Austria), Valplastic (Italy), Fellinger B (Austria), and BariQ (Egypt).
The submitted challenge test results for the cleaning efficiency of the Starlinger PET recycling process regarding the five specified surrogates toluene, chloroform, phenyl cyclohexane, benzophenone and lindane lie far above the thresholds specified by EFSA, meaning that the process is considered not to give rise to safety concerns if operated under well-defined and controlled conditions.

Best results even under worst conditions
The evaluation of the process is based on data obtained in challenge tests provided by Starlinger recycling technology. The same data were also used in 2007 for obtaining the Non-Objection-Letter from the US FDA. While the challenge tests are usually carried out with washed flakes, Starlinger performed the challenge tests under so-called "worst case" conditions: In the 4-step recycling process heavily contaminated PET flakes were processed unwashed. Despite the high contamination the process achieves a cleaning efficiency that lies well above the EFSA thresholds.

For comparison Starlinger also carried out a challenge test with contaminated flakes that were washed before being processed, which is the input material recyclers usually deal with. In this case, four of five surrogates show a cleaning efficiency of 99.9 %. Even lindane (non-volatile/non-polar) shows a cleaning efficiency of 99.9 % where the EFSA threshold requires 89.67 %. Both challenge test results show the excellent decontamination capacity of the recoSTAR PET iV+ technology even under worst conditions, proving again that Starlinger is playing in the top league of rPET decontamination for application in food-contact packaging. Most of the decontamination values published in other EFSA opinions are results obtained from tests with contaminated washed flakes.