Greiner Packaging is taking active steps to drive the circular economy forward. Its K3 yogurt cup is made from an environmentally friendly cardboard-plastic combination that can be printed. This particular cup is now the focus of a project carried out by Greiner Packaging in Switzerland, a move that reflects the company’s strong commitment to highlighting the recyclability of polystyrene (PS). The goal is to manufacture food packaging from recycled PS.
According to the company, this project marks the first time that 100% mechanically recycled PS has been combined with 100% recycled cardboard. The complete solution was tested on the typical Swiss yogurt twin packs – and the results are “very promising”, it said.
Greiner Packaging is a European manufacturer of plastic packaging in the food and non-food sectors. The company responds to the challenges of the market with two business units — Packaging and Assistec. While the Packaging unit focuses on innovative packaging solutions, the Assistec unit is dedicated to producing custom-made technical parts. Greiner Packaging employs a workforce of around 5,000 at more than 30 locations in 19 countries worldwide, including India.
100% mechanically recycled PS
The high levels of purity reached by PS in tests demonstrate its suitability for mechanical recycling. Mechanically recycled PS boasts 99.9% purity and thus has the potential to achieve food-grade status. While the PS recycled plastic used in these tests has yet to be approved for food contact applications, the initial trials offer proof that Greiner Packaging is already capable of producing yogurt cups with 100% mechanically recycled PS. The certification of the material is already underway. This pilot project was facilitated by Styrenics Circular Solutions (SCS), the value chain initiative to realize the circular economy for styrenic polymers. As part of its commitment to sustainability, Greiner Packaging initiated joint activities with SCS to develop food contact applications using recycled PS.
Closed loop for PS
As a member of SCS, Greiner Packaging promotes sustainable measures for recycled PS (rPS). These efforts are currently focused on the benefits of using mechanically recycled PS — a low carbon footprint due to sustainable materials and the creation of closed material loops. In other words, the recycled material does not need to be mixed with virgin material – so an overall sustainable concept can be realized without difficulty.
“The goal of obtaining food contact approval for 100% mechanically recycled PS and its process can only be achieved with the involvement of many companies across the entire value chain. Our activities in this field are currently focusing on our initial tests with a customer in Switzerland,” explains Tobias Strasser, managing director at Greiner Packaging Diepoldsau in Switzerland.