Safety assessment of the process ‘Polisan Hellas S.A.’, based on Polymetrix (formerly Buhler) technology, used to recycle post-consumer PET into food contact materials

Polymetrix (formerly Buhler);Polisan Hellas S.A.;food contact materials;plastic;poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET);recycling process;safety assessment
First published in the EFSA Journal
15 July 2016
21 July 2016
Scientific Opinion
This scientific opinion of the EFSA Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing Aids (CEF) deals with the safety evaluation of the recycling process Polisan Hellas S.A. (EU register No RECYC128), which is based on the Polymetrix (formerly Buhler) technology. The input of this process is hot washed and dried poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) flakes originating from collected post-consumer PET containers, mainly bottles, containing no more than 5% of PET from non-food consumer applications. Through this process, washed and dried PET flakes are extruded into pellets, crystallised and subsequently decontaminated in a continuous countercurrent reactor under high temperature and inert gas flow. The recovered PET is mixed with at least 67% by mass of virgin PET before the main decontamination step. Having examined the challenge test provided, the Panel concluded that the third step, the decontamination in continuous countercurrent reactor for solid-state polycondensation (SSP), is the critical step that determines the decontamination efficiency of the process. The operating parameters that control its performance are well defined and are temperature, residence time and gas flow. The operating parameters of this step in the process are at least as severe as those used in the challenge tests. Under these conditions, it was demonstrated that the recycling process under evaluation is able to ensure that the level of migration of potential unknown contaminants into food is below a conservatively modelled migration of 0.1 μg/kg food. Therefore, the Panel concluded that the PET obtained from this process (containing at least 67% virgin PET input), intended to be used up to 100% for the manufacture of materials and articles for contact with all types of foodstuffs for long-term storage at room temperature, with or without hotfill, is not considered of safety concern. Trays made of this PET are not intended to be used, and should not to be used in microwave and conventional ovens.
Panel members at the time of adoption
Claudia Bolognesi, Laurence Castle, Jean-Pierre Cravedi, Karl-Heinz Engel, Paul Fowler, Roland Franz, Konrad Grob, Rainer Gürtler, Trine Husøy, Sirpa Kärenlampi, Wim Mennes, Maria Rosaria Milana, André Penninks, Vittorio Silano, Andrew Smith, Maria de Fátima Tavares Poças, Christina Tlustos, Detlef Wölfle, Holger Zorn and Corina-Aurelia Zugravu
Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing Aids
fip [at]
EFSA Journal 2016;14(7):4463
Question Number
On request from
Greece Competent Authority, Greece
Competing interests
In line with EFSA's policy on declarations of interest, Roland Franz did not participate in the development and adoption of this scientific opinion.