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Safety assessment of the process ESTERPET, based on Starlinger iV+ technology, used to recycle post‐consumer PET into food contact materials

Metadata

Panel members at the time of adoption

José Manuel Barat Baviera, Claudia Bolognesi, Andrew Chesson, Pier Sandro Cocconcelli, Riccardo Crebelli, David Michael Gott, Konrad Grob, Claude Lambré, Evgenia Lampi, Marcel Mengelers, Alicja Mortensen, Gilles Rivière, Vittorio Silano (until 21 December 2020†), Inger‐Lise Steffensen, Christina Tlustos, Henk Van Loveren, Laurence Vernis and Holger Zorn.

Note: The full opinion will be published in accordance with Article 10(6) of Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 once the decision on confidentiality, in line with Article 20(3) of the Regulation, will be received from the European Commission. Technical details on recycling steps 2–4 (Sections  3.2.1 and 3.3.1), details of the performed challenge test (Section  3.3.2) and the text and table on the operational parameters (Appendix  C), have been provided under confidentiality and they are redacted awaiting the decision of the Commission.

Abstract

The EFSA Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes and Processing Aids (CEP) assessed the safety of the recycling process ESTERPET (EU register number RECYC186), which uses the Starlinger iV+ technology. The input is hot caustic washed and dried poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) flakes mainly originating from collected post‐consumer PET containers, with no more than 5% PET from non‐food consumer applications. The flakes are dried and crystallised in a first reactor, then extruded into pellets. These pellets are crystallised, preheated and treated in a solid‐state polycondensation (SSP) reactor. Having examined the challenge test provided, the Panel concluded that the drying and crystallisation (step 2), extrusion and crystallisation (step 3) and SSP (step 4) are critical in determining the decontamination efficiency of the process. The operating parameters to control the performance of these critical steps are temperature, air flow and residence time for the drying and crystallisation step, and temperature, pressure and residence time for the extrusion and crystallisation step as well as the SSP step. It was demonstrated that this recycling process is able to ensure that the level of migration of potential unknown contaminants into food is below the conservatively modelled migration of 0.1 μg/kg food. Therefore, the Panel concluded that the recycled PET obtained from this process is not of safety concern when used at 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. The final articles made of this recycled PET are not intended to be used in microwave and conventional ovens and such uses are not covered by this evaluation.