Recent reports in the media about the recyclability of black food trays has prompted us to outline Faerch’s current position on the issue, and reinforce our commitment to the recycling and reuse of plastic trays.
As a leading manufacturer of plastic packaging for the global food industry, Faerch adheres to a strict environmental strategy across all our manufacturing facilities in Europe, with a Group Sustainability Report documenting key principles and new targets for reducing environmental impact, energy consumption, and plastic waste.
Faerch is well positioned to implement a closed loop - Cradle-to-Cradle - process for the manufacture of food trays from post-consumer recycled PET or rPET. The substitution of PET with rPET gives a CO₂ reduction of some 50% and is a natural part of the company’s sustainable approach.
Recycling of Black Food Trays
For several years, Faerch has been working on an exciting project to improve the recyclability of its black food trays. As stated in recent media coverage, plastics recycling depots are unable to identify black trays in the mixed waste stream as it is invisible to their electronic sorting systems.
Since 2012, Faerch has offered a black CPET ID packaging material that is detectable by the NIR (Near InfraRed) optical sorting equipment currently used by most recycling companies.
Where the correct infrastructure is in place, trays produced from CPET ID can be sorted from mixed household waste, cleaned, and used as recycled raw material.
During this project, Faerch worked with a consortium led by UK retailers that included WRAP, Nextek, Titech and Eurofins, to develop a CPET ID tray that was aesthetically pleasing and functional, and which sorting trials showed to be detectable and capable of being separated for recycling.
Faerch conducted trials with Waitrose where the CPET ID trays were delivered into the market to test consumer reaction. The consumer feedback gave the green light for further trials.
Faerch manufactured approximately two million detectable CPET ID trays that were used by M&S and Sainsbury’s across their ready meals range. These meals were sold over a four-week period, with a high density in the South East of England, where the recovery of the trays took place.
This project further demonstrates Faerch’s commitment to working closely with its customers to deliver high quality, environmentally-friendly packaging solutions, and we have the infrastructure in place to receive, recycle and reuse all plastic food trays - in line with our closed loop manufacturing process.