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13. May 2024

Closed loop in the food industry

Jokey and REMONDIS agree to work together to build a closed loop system for the food industry. A joint research project aims to develop practical processes and scale them for industry. The aim is to produce packaging products with approvals from European and US authorities made from recycled polypropylene (rPP).

Since 2022, the Jokey Group has been pursuing its own research project with scientific support. The possibilities for obtaining and reusing recycled polypropylene (rPP) from food-grade rigid packaging are being explored. The use of recycled containers and cooperation with REMONDIS have a long tradition at Jokey: Jokey manufactured the first recycling bucket in cooperation with REMONDIS (RE Plano) in 1991.

REMONDIS has been committed to recycling PP and PE for more than 60 years. The company has continuously improved sorting and processing, so that the recyclates are now also used in the production of very sophisticated products. If the recyclates come from high-quality packaging applications, the goal is to also offer them to packaging manufacturers for the same purposes. A proper collection is an important step. REMONDIS is not only involved in take-back systems, but also has a comprehensive network of locations and a broad fleet of vehicles.

Through the cooperation between Jokey and REMONDIS, the closed cycle system for food packaging is now to be continuously expanded. REMONDIS coordinates the collection, return and sorting of food packaging from commercial end users. Recycled materials are then obtained in a mechanical recycling process, which in turn are used by Jokey to produce new packaging. “In order to be able to produce new food packaging from these recyclates in the future, we have to ensure a closed recycling cycle that consists exclusively of food packaging,” explains Jens Stadter, CEO of the Jokey Group. “With REMONDIS we were able to gain a cooperation partner who has outstanding expertise in the recycling industry, the highest quality standards, comprehensive infrastructure and complete service chains,” continued Stadter.

Ralf Mandelatz, Managing Director of REMONDIS Recycling, adds: “We are pleased that Jokey, together with REMONDIS, would like to technologically further develop mechanical recycling in the area of ​​contact-sensitive packaging. REMONDIS is contributing its findings from other projects that aim to use technical progress in the spirit of a circular economy in order to close resource cycles with as few emissions as possible.”

The legal requirements for products that come into contact with food are very high with regard to the health and safety of end users. With its research project, Jokey was also able to answer the question of feasibility positively. These scientific results will be incorporated into the new joint pilot project between REMONDIS and Jokey. The challenge is to obtain polyolefin recycled plastics that meet the requirements of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Ultimately, the goal of the research project is, in addition to the professional scaling of the closed loop of food packaging, to obtain long-term approval for the recyclates from EFSA and FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration). The groundbreaking collection system from REMONDIS and Jokey is of great interest to the food industry, as the circular system allows food packaging to be produced in an even more resource-efficient and sustainable manner.

Image credits: © Jokey Group

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