smartFoodTechnologyOWL - TH OWL
smartFoodTechnologyOWL - futurefoodfactory

EP4a: Recyclate Transparency

Completed project

Recyclate Transparency - Deploying data-intensive and inline-enabled sensors for real-time, cross-stage analysis of recycled PET

Food packaging and beverage bottles have become an indispensable part of our everyday lives. Many foods cannot be stored and transported without packaging, and packaging also helps to keep food fresh and durable for longer. Plastic packaging is stable, has good barrier properties and can be easily sterilized. Effective recycling cycles are necessary to ensure that the use of plastic packaging is also sustainable and has as little impact on the environment as possible. However, with each recycling cycle, the quality of the plastic can decrease and should therefore be monitored. Similarly, EU Directive EU2019/904 mandates an increase in the proportion of recycled plastics used in the production of beverage bottles. The monitoring of these regulations is foreseen through mass balances, but the monitoring can benefit from a more specific analysis strategy, especially for those that are becoming more global and complex.

So how can the quality of plastics and data regarding recycling and contents of recycled plastics be monitored? Through initial trials, we have been able to identify promising strategies consisting of the use of data-intensive sensors and the use of multivariate statistics and machine learning, which will now be further developed and validated with a much larger sample size as part of this project. In this way, Recyclate Transparency will make an important contribution to the safe and sustainable use of recycled plastics.

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