Trays made out of PET sheet are ideal for numerous applications: fresh food and dairy (fresh and sliced meats, cheese, fresh pasta, ...), blister packaging (lamps, tools, stationary, body care, ...) and medical packaging (tablets, scalpels, catheters, ...), providing great performances in transparency and improving the shelf life of products.
There is a growing trend in the collection of PET trays for specific recycling activities. Nonetheless, more work must be done. Besides separate collection and proper sorting of trays and other PET sheet-based products, design for recycling is a major tool to boost their circularity.
To extend the success story of PET bottles (www.epbp.org/) and their high recycling rate in Europe, Petcore Europe and PRE have published the Design for Recycling Guidelines for PET trays "clear transparent to be recycled even in food applications." The guidelines (available on www.petcore-europe.org/ and on www.plasticsrecyclers.eu/) have been developed by the PET Thermoforms Working Group under Petcore Europe and can be consulted by the industry to improve the design for recycling of their packaging. The guidelines will be shortly implemented in the PRE RecyClass tool (www.recyclass.eu/).
With these guidelines the PET industry wants to show that properly designed packaging, separate collection, good sorting and recycling of PET trays are the way towards circularity. They reflect the current status-of-the art of technology; Petcore Europe will welcome any suggestion and will evaluate any new incoming technology in order to improve the document.