Back to search

SIRKULÆRØKONOMI-Sirkulær økonomi

Recycled Plastics for Food Contact Packaging

Alternative title: Resirkulert plast for matvareemballasje

Awarded: NOK 12.0 mill.

Project Manager:

Project Number:


Project Period:

2021 - 2024

RecyFoodPack aims to develop innovative plastic food packaging systems that increase the use of recycled plastic, while safeguarding food safety and quality and contribute to achieving Norways circular economy target. RecyFoodPack will solve challenges related to reduced food waste and food safety, new packaging requirements, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and development of greatly improved products and processes, with respect to food stuffs as well as to their novel recycled plastics packaging. WP1 In the first work package, the project has focused on identifying suitable food packaging systems to initiate case studies in closed loop recycling (WP2) and with recycled plastic behind a functional barrier (WP3). In workshop and cooperation with the industry partners potential food packaging types have been identified. The work emphasizes on selection of food packaging types with high volumes in Norway, and particularly on selection of polyolefin based food packaging. Further work with intention to identify other applications and possible hurdles is ongoing. WP2 For the second work package, PP and PET trays have been selected for case studies for closed loop systems. The PET trays will be collected by strict source control and will not be mixed with other household waste. Rigid polypropylene (PP) mono materials have been selected for a more extended study, as no closed loop food approved systems for polyolefins exists in Norway today. The quality of the PP sorted out from Norwegian consumer mixed plastic waste and mixed waste will be compared to waste sorted directly by consumer. This will give insight and demonstrate what type of sorting system that is needed for food safety in recycling of polyolefins. If the food safety cannot be brought into the safety limits required, functional barriers will be investigated for these closed loop systems. Additionally, these systems will be compared to non-food approved recycled PP with utilization of protectional functional barriers (WP3). To collect the selected plastic, hand picking from the different sorted plastic waste streams in Norway is planned, and work have been initiated together with kindergartens to demonstrate the consumer sorting approach. The work together with kindergartens will be part of demonstrating that plastics can be recycled and used again, in contrast to becoming waste that ends up in oceans and animals. WP3 In the third work package, recycled material behind a functional barrier will be evaluated, including plastic waste that is not sorted as food approved plastics. PE flexible films for frozen food, PP trays and PET trays have been selected for case studies. The PET and PP trays will both be studied in a closed loop system and compared to the non-food approved recycled plastic behind a functional barrier. State-of-the-art solutions will be investigated for utilization of functional barriers and to find suitable barrier systems that are recyclable. The work is in its planning phase and Norwegian sourced materials will be compared to European references. WP5 This work package investigates the plastic packaging waste system. To increase recycling of plastic packaging waste and to facilitate the use of recycled plastics in food applications, a thorough understanding and insight in the current waste management system are needed. The literature review conducted in this work package has given valuable insight in the performance, challenges, and critical factors of these systems. In the next stage, the Norwegian waste systems will be analyzed thoroughly, and critical performance factors (regarding recycling rate and environmental impact) will be identified, quantified, and compared with literature findings. Afterwards, necessary system changes to increase the use of recycled plastics in food applications will be analyzed and case studies will be evaluated separately to support decision making in these cases. In parallel to the waste system analysis, this work package has also mapped how the Sustainable Development Goals are used by the project partners. This mapping exercise serves as a basis for this work package to increase the understanding of how companies can contribute towards meeting the Sustainable development Goals.

RECY-FOOD-PACK aims to safeguard food safety and quality, while developing innovative plastic packaging systems that increase the use of recycled plastic and contribute to achieving Norway’s circular economy target. Food safety is critical at every stage of the food chain from production to harvest, processing, packaging, storage, distribution, all the way to preparation and consumption. Plastic packaging preserves the safety and quality of food products throughout the distribution chain to the consumer. In order to reach circular economy targets more food packaging needs to be recyclable, and more food packaging must be made from recycled plastics. RECY-FOOD-PACK will develop a comprehensive knowledge platform for safe food packaging from recycled plastics, comprising scientific knowledge and innovations for the partners that are new, both nationally and internationally. The food plastics packaging systems and value chains will be assessed by LCIA as a tool to enable progress measurement versus the selected SDG's (no 3, 9, 12, 13).

Funding scheme:

SIRKULÆRØKONOMI-Sirkulær økonomi