UK-based Plastic packaging specialist Nampak is looking to trial milk bottles with 30% recycled content followed by a university study, which found out that 50% recycled content is a feasible target for HDPE milk bottles.
Nampak commissioned the University of Bradford’s Centre for Advanced Materials Engineering to assess the impact of various proportions of recycled content on processability and the functionality of the material.
Using post-consumer food-grade rHDPE pellets, the experimental work assessed the properties of blends of virgin HDPE with between 10% and 50% rHDPE, and also quantified the effects on material properties of five thermal cycles through an extruder. The researchers concluded that the recyclate grades studied had very similar properties to the virgin materials in terms of flow behaviour, molecular structure and overall quality.
Currently Nampak includes up to 10% rHDPE in its milk bottles. In line with its commitment to reduce its carbon footprint, and as part of Defra’s Milk Road Map, the company has set a target to include 50% rHDPE by 2020.
Researchers concluded that the use of recycled material created very similar properties to the virgin grades.
Nampak business development manager James Crick said that the research confirmed the firm’s confidence in reaching the 50% target.
“This is a significant step forward and we now plan to conduct our own blow-moulding trials using 30% rHDPE to replicate the experimental work under manufacturing conditions,” Crick added.