Recycling of 250.000 plastic food trays from Copenhagen

The first ever large-scale demonstration of tray-to-tray recycling in Denmark

PET monolayer tray-to-tray recycling

Partnership for Circular Food Trays has recently sent approximately 8 tonnes of PET plastic food trays from Copenhagen to recycling and production of new food trays. This is the first demonstration of large-scale tray-to-tray recycling ever in Denmark.

The demonstration project has the potential to become a game changer for plastic waste recycling in Denmark. The Danish Government’s recent proposal for a waste management reform has increased the need to establish systems for high quality recycling of plastic waste in Denmark. More than one-third of the plastic waste from Copenhagen households consists of food trays and tubs. Until now, this waste stream has been recycled into other types of products than food packaging, which means that the food industry could not replace their packaging with new, recycled packaging. This is the status quo that the partnership is trying to change.

The sorted PET food trays and tubs from Copenhagen were transported to Duiven, Netherlands, where they were washed and recycled into food-grade PET flakes (see documentation here). The flakes were then sent to Faerch’s production facility in Holstebro, Denmark, where they were used to produce new food trays (see documentation here). The new trays will be used by Hilton Foods and Danish Crown to pack meat, and the products will be sold in Danish COOP and REMA 1000 stores from August 2020.