Food safe plastics?
How does it work with food safe products? I notice that most food packaging and storage is made from HDPE (except for the well known PET bottles). If you want to make anything to be used with food, is that the one to go for? Or is PET a better choice?
Will it still be food safe after going through these machines? For example the heating and melting, does that influence it in some way?
I have been researching this today as far as EU regs go – the amount of compliance you need to do depends on where you are in the world and the government guidelines covering use and sale of plastics in your particular country.
EU regs are in the public domain, albeit a bit cryptic! PET and HDPE are the main plastics used in contact with food and both are subject to large scale recycling in the EU for reuse in the food industry. EC 282/2008 covers the basics and EFSA Guidelines for submitting a dossier for approval further elaborate.
The documents basically say that rPET and rHDPE (recycled) must contain no more than around 5% of plastic that was not originally used for food contact purposes (there are exceptions where you can have more), and that the recycling process must pass a number of “challenge tests” that prove that the recycling process removes dangerous contaminants that might otherwise make their way into the food contained in the end products. e.g. a drinking water bottle might have been filled with a chemical solution by a user before being thrown in the garbage or recycling bin, or someone may have emptied a bunch of garden waste over the top of a load of empty food containers…
The large scale recyclers use Caustic Soda to clean their plastic flakes and have to filter and sanitise the effluent so that it doesn’t go on to pollute the environment!! To me this seems a bit of overkill to make some recycled plastic cups and I’m really not keen on handling harsh chemicals so if there are other EU APPROVED cleaning alternatives out there I would be interested in finding out about them??
To be able to have what they call a “closed loop” recycling process where fast food containers/plates/cups/utensils are collected after use, recycled into new items and brought back to the same use etc etc would seem like a utopia… But you have to pass the EU/FSA regs in the moore regulated countries.
Interested to hear aboout the max number of times a plastic can be recycled too, Ashish??
Technically it is illegal according to EU regulations. that said i personally don’t think that reusing plastic that has already been used for food as long as you keep it separated from other types of plastic, another thing to consider is that some mold releases may not be food safe, i would personally try mineral oil or similar. Good luck
I differ with Marcelo. If you take care of the process, certainly post consumer recycle (PCR) can again be food grade. However and for a formal assessment, the plastic needs to be evaluated based on the different current regulations, either FDA 21 CFR for the USA or EU 10/2011.
hello, i’ll try to help. Excuse my English.
PP, PET, PS, PVC and PE can be food grade. The processment isn’t the problem of these. The problem is the type of additivies used.
When you are working with plastic you put another products to give special properties like, easily processment, or UV- resistance. To be food grade you need to use some special kinds of that. These one aren’t made with heavy metals.
PP and PS – cups
PE, PVC, sheet to put on packaging
From my understanding of different plastics, the main issue with non food safe plastics are leaching which generally occurs at hightened temperatures (warm food and drinks). You have to get to the root of what the material is made out of, like PVC stands for Poly Vinyl Chlorate. Generally PVC has been known to leach chemicals at higher temperatures, but here in the USA, a majority of pipes are made out of PVC, so I would assume it is safe at cooler temperatures, maybe a plumber would know better. However, the mentions above of contamination sound pretty logical as well.
Oi Marcelo, sou Angelica de Cotia-SP. Por favor, veja se consegue me ajudar. Eu tinha vontade de fazer pratos e copos/canecas com o material reciclado, nesse caso o uso é seguro? Não se trata de armazenamento de alimentos, mas apenas o uso no momento da refeição. Já tinha imaginado que não poderiam ir ao microondas, mas poderiam ser utilizados para bebidas frias ou alimentos quentes saídos da panela? Obrigada, um abraço!
Hi Marcelo, I’m Angelica from SP-Brazil. Please, I need some help too. I was willing to do dishes and mugs with the recycled material, is it safe for this use? I’m not talking about conserving food, but the use in a meal. I wondered that this material could not be used in the microwave oven, but could they be used to cool drinks like water, juice or hot food from the pan? Thank you!
According to the law you can’t. Because if the polymer suffers a little contamination it will be dangerous.
Cool, thanks. So basically if you recycle plastic that has the food grade marking on it, it should be safe to use again with food?
(Your English is great, no need to excuse yourself for that)
Well, It’s true you cannot use every plastic as a food safe plastic. The plastic which can be used for food packaging application has to be virgin, or it doesn’t have to have contaminates in it. Even the type of material by which you make mold also affects that plastic usage for food grade. A plastic can only be recycled a few no. of times. Every material has its own properties and it deteriorates every time we recycle it. Even in some parts of the world they do recycle material more then 3 times for food grade, but for that they have to control the quality of material which will be going to use as food grade.
I have more details related to it. if anyone wants to know something, I can be easily contacted here or on my gmail id [email protected]
Industrial recyclers buy a production line from a machine supplier like EREMA or SIPA, then they are required to request their health minister (the process depends on your country) which will itself make a request to the EFSA. Once the request checked, a technical committee is coming on-site to make a bunch of tests on additives and contaminants leakage during the recycling process. You, as a recycler, are requested to provide the full list of chemical additives you may add in your process like UV stabilizers, flame retardant, etc. It is absolutely not convenient for a small workshop, but the good news is that their is no audit on it. Once you get the certification for food-grade, even if you change the parameters of your line, you don’t need to make a new request. A way to be sure you are going to pass the leakage test is to sort food grade trash among the trash you want to recycle. Like PP and HDPE food-grade containers. And not add additives during your process. For general food containers, you will have to test it with an aggressive substance like vinegar. Most of the time, the EFSA committee gathers the request by its technologies. So if a recycler in Austria is using an EREMA line, as a recycler in Luxembourg and Germany, they will certainly proceed with the 3 requests at the same time. It does mean that it will be interesting to look at how to gather workshops that want to do food grade among the European Precious Plastic community. The last thing to remember is that when recycling some plastic like PET, the heating/melting process is going to force the PET to react ad partially turned into volatile acids for example. If you do not recycle PET with a vacuum filter to remove volatile components during the extrusion you may not pass the certification.
Did you finally find out?
To recycle HDPE or other PE materials what is the best way to do?
Sorting – cleansing in hot water – Shredding – cleansing in hot water -shredding – pressing.
Is it possible to make HDPE materials to be a raw plastic?
What is a possible technology to convert HDPE products (especially vinyl types)
to a raw materials for recycled plastic.
I am trying to make compact version of recycle machine for home.
Any ideas are welcomed
I thought that to be food safe, plastic needs to be BPA free. BPA will release into food when heated. Is HDPE BPA free?
If HDPE is PET blow, is it also PLA, then?
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