Mannok recently hosted NEXTLOOPP for trials of its new recycled post-consumer polypropylene (PP) material.  The trials, which were a world first, represented a major milestone for the NEXTLOOPP project as it aims to close the loop on PP food packaging.

Mannok joined the mission to develop food-grade recycled PP packaging in 2021 when it became a member of NEXTLOOPP along with several industry leaders. The company has been a key participant since, and was selected to run the first full-scale production trials of NEXTLOOPP’s unique PPristineTM.

Professor Edward Kosior, founder of Nextek and NEXTLOOPP and Dr Jon Mitchell, Nextek’s Projects Manager, travelled to Mannok’s facilities in County Cavan, Ireland recently to trial the new material. During a full day of trials, a range of different products were produced, including injection moulded dairy spread tubs and lids with in-mould label, and conventional extruded sheet and thermoformed products.

Dr Neil Martin, Mannok’s Quality Process Engineer, who led the trials, commented,

“We’re proud to be involved in the development of a product that will contribute significantly to closing the loop on PP food packaging. PP is one of the most valuable polymers and we are privileged to be selected for these trials.

 As detailed in our five-year Sustainability Strategy we are committed to protecting the limited resources of our planet and producing food packaging which is truly circular, manufactured using recycled materials and can easily be recycled back into food packaging products.”

Mannok Packaging Products Sustainability Strategy is a roadmap to help the company achieve its sustainability goals over the next five years and continue as leaders in sustainability. The strategy carefully considers the meaning of “Protecting What Matters” and is focused on three pillars of protection: protecting resources, protecting nature and protecting people.  

Dr. Martin also added,

“To date, we have made great progress on our own industry leading, circular designed developments. We have created a range of brands including Detecta, Orbital, Signum and Recur. Each of these product brands were designed to tackle a specific recyclability issue, or to maximise recycled content, and we’re delighted to be involved in this project which is tackling a major sustainability issue for our industry.  

Having witnessed the successful production of NEXTLOOPP’s PPristineTM production trials, it is evident that the project has excellent potential to allow recycled post-consumer PP to be used again to make food grade packaging, while meeting standards set out by the European Food Standards Authority (EFSA).”

By providing a solution to the recyclability issues of food-grade PP, PPristineTM will contribute to a sustainable future and benefit the environment. The production of 1 tonne of recycled PP will save approximately 1.7 tonne of CO2 emissions.

NEXTLOOPP is now finalising the dossiers for its application to achieve food-grade accreditation and is working in conjunction with industry bodies to advise on new design guidelines for Food-Grade Circular Recycling based on their findings from these trials.