UK-based Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has recently initiated a study to test the process of recycling polypropylene for use in food grade packaging and evaluate its commercial viability. WRAP has commissioned Axion Consulting, in partnership with Greenstar WES, Fraunhofer IVV and Pira Consulting for carrying out the project. The project aims to use recycled PP in food grade packaging which has not been possible until now; however, the same plastic is regularly recycled into industry plastics application (such as buckets and pallets). The scoping study will end in late August 2009.
As polypropylene makes up a significant proportion of plastic packaging in the household bin, developing a process to enable it to be recycled is an important next step towards sustainable packaging. Recycling of HDPE and PET bottles has undergone immense development as they are widely recycled back into new plastic bottles including food grade packaging. One of the factors studied during the project include whether the currently used food grade HDPE recycling process can be transferred to recycle PP to be used in food grade packaging. Using recycled PP instead of virgin plastics, for food packaging also presents significant environmental benefits for retailers, brands and consumers alike.