Faerch Group, the leading rigid food packaging manufacturer and integrated recycler, announces the rebranding of its subsidiary 4PET Recycling into CIRREC. The new name reflects the company’s commitment to truly circular recycling in food packaging. With additional capacity ordered, CIRREC scales tray-to-tray recycling to countries across Europe and drives the development of establishing food grade tray-rPET regenerated from pots, tubs and trays as a new commodity in the market.
The new name CIRREC emphasises the company’s focus on ‘CIRcular RECycling’. In contrast to down-cycling, circular recycling brings products back into their original application without loss in quality and food safety. Functional properties like food grade quality, colour, impact strengths etc. are preserved or fully recovered in the process.
“In a truly circular economy, food packaging becomes food packaging again. Bottles are recycled back into bottles, food trays become food trays again. Clear remains clear, and mixed colours are used for non-clear applications like in Evolve by Faerch,” Lars Gade Hansen, CEO of Faerch Group, sets out the ambition stating. “Each application cleans up for itself and provides its own feedstock. The textile industry does not steal from packaging and tray manufactures stop stealing from the bottlers,” he says. “This is what we call true circularity. And this is what we believe the future of rigid food packaging will be,” he continues.
The launch of the CIRREC brand marks the achievement of important milestones:
Firstly, already today, CIRREC processes industrial volumes, recycling the equivalent of 1.2 billion food trays annually. This roughly reflects the entire Dutch market of sorted rigid PET household food packaging or, alternatively, the total amount of sorted PET pots, tubs and trays in Scandinavia.
Secondly, CIRREC has started scaling its tray-to-tray recycling capabilities into additional countries in Europe with the next two tray wash lines already ordered, quadrupling the output capacity equal to more than 5 billion food trays annually by 2025.
Thirdly, in Europe, there is rapid development from the collectors and pre-sorters in making post-consumer PET pots, tubs and trays accessible for recycling, with gradually improving feedstock quality, allowing the yields to be comparable with bottle recycling. And finally, CIRREC operates within the most demanding application of primary food packaging, and food grade rPET made from pots, tubs and trays, that will become a new widely-available commodity, tray-rPET.
“The environmental benefits from tray-to-tray recycling are undisputed. It handles the household rigid PET food packaging stream amounting to 1.1 million tonnes per year and growing by 15% p.a. This is in contrast to the majority of European PET recycling facilities that today only focus on the clear commodity market for bottle material,” Lars Gade Hansen comments. “tray-rPET availability is increasing, while rPET from bottles is becoming increasingly scarce for non-bottle applications,” he continues. “Recent months have dramatically demonstrated the importance of additional and resilient sources of supply. CIRREC’s approach addresses this need and allows attractive pricing models for food packaging manufacturers and their customers,” Lars Gade Hansen concludes.
Due to the ongoing rapid conversion from non-circular materials like PS, PVC or PET/PE, the resource pool of post-consumer mono-PET food packaging is expected to increase significantly going forward, and industry-wide cooperation is needed to ensure tray-rPET is established as a global commodity. CIRREC will therefore further intensify its collaboration with leading industry players to achieve true circularity for coloured, natural and clear PET food packaging.
With the world’s first tray-to-tray recycling line installed in 2018 in Duiven, Netherlands, CIRREC’s predecessor 4PET Recycling successfully closed the loop on food trays and has been pioneering the transition of rigid food packaging towards circularity. Its capabilities allow to recycle post-consumer PET pots, tubs and trays back into food packaging, keeping the material and energy used for raw material production in the economy and significantly lowering carbon emissions and the waste of resources. In its recycling site in Duiven, CIRREC processes 24Kt of input post-consumer pots, tubs and tray bales from all across Europe to regenerate new food grade material, which can be used for the manufacture of new food packaging in an endless number of cycles and without loss in functional properties.
CIRREC is part of the Faerch Group. Founded in 1969 and headquartered in Holstebro, Denmark, Faerch is a leading European manufacturer of sustainable food packaging solutions. Faerch has taken the lead in making food packaging circular with products made from up to 100% recycled content and fully recyclable to new food grade products. The Group employs more than 2,200 people across 16 production sites in Denmark, Great Britain, France, Italy, Poland, Spain, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands. Sales offices cover all of Europe. Faerch is part of the A.P. Moller Group.