Faerch, a leading producer of trays for food packaging in Denmark leverages EREMA Vacurema to produce 100% rPET trays. They produce trays for ready meals, fresh meat, and takeaway meals, largely made from PET thermoforming film.
Faerch is the first company in the world to successfully close the loop by integrating the recycling of European post-consumer PET household pots, tubs, and tray packaging into its own production process. The packaging must meet the highest quality standards for direct contact with food and must meet special functional criteria, such as for transporting liquid food and when food is frozen or heated up in it. The trays Faerch produces are fully recyclable and, depending on the PET type (CPET, MAPET or APET), are made of up to 100 percent recycled post-consumer recycled PET (rPET).
Faerch Recycled APET Food Packaging
Faerch Recycled CPET Food Packaging
Tray-to-tray recycling can be compared to bottle-to-bottle recycling, where the circular economy has been successfully well established for 20 years, closing the material loop of PET trays have lagged behind.
"For us, it was clear that with purpose-specific modification of our flexible VACUREMA® technology, tray-to-tray recycling could become just as much of a success story. Faerch was our first customer to be as convinced of this as we were," says Christoph Wöss, Business Development Manager at EREMA Group GmbH.
At Faerch's own recycling plant "4PET" in the Netherlands, PET bales obtained from the collection and sorting companies throughout Europe are sorted, washed, and recycled. Both post-consumer rPET flakes and pellets are supplied to packaging manufacturers and reused in the company's own production.
"This currently makes us the only integrated recycler in the world capable of recycling used household PET packaging on an industrial scale and turning them back into new trays," explains Thomas Bak Thellesen, Senior Director Group Sustainability & External Affairs.
He backs up this statement with some impressive figures: Trays from all over Europe are recycled to make 1.2 billion PCR PET trays per year. The aim is to quadruple the recycling capacity within the coming years.
"Without any compromises in terms of food contact compliance and functional properties," as Bak Thellesen emphasizes: "Quality and sustainability must go hand in hand for us because this is the only way we can offer our customers circular packaging solutions and drive the change necessary to establish an infrastructure needed to achieve a real circular economy."
To get the PET waste it needs, Faerch offers its own buyback models to customers who are able to collect the packaging again after use, such as airlines and catering companies.