Thermoforms recycling process

Due to the quite important and interesting quantities of material involved, thermoforms wastes are becoming an emerging new sector of the recycling market, with interesting opportunities for those who choose to become involved in this activity.

There are two basic groups of thermoforms on the market and each one of them has particular characteristics that have to be carefully considered in order to properly treat the materials in the recycling processes:

  • Monolayer (PP – APET – PS – PC – PETC – PVC)
  • Multilayer (PET/PE – PET/PVC – PET/EVOH – Others complex)

Post-consumer packaging waste contains several hundreds of thousands of tons of thermoforms available for the plastic recycling process. Demand for recycling technologies and solutions to properly treat this complicated kind of material has been increasing in the past years.

For the past few years, SOREMA has been involved in different pilot tests for innovative recycling solutions, following requests by local collection systems, industrial associations and thermoform converters. This has enabled SOREMA to develop a strong knowledge of the problems involved in the process as well as of the requirements that must be met by the materials obtained from the recycling line, with a particular focus on thermoform characteristics. This approach is one of our trademarks: we are always available to meet client demands and do are best to modify and improve are procedures in order to satisfy our customers. At SOREMA, we believe that this approach is the safest guarantee of constantly improving technologies and results alongside customer satisfaction.

The types of polymers used in these applications are:

  • PP – Polypropylene
  • APET – Amorphous Polyethylene Terephthalate
  • PS – Polystyrene
  • CPET – Crystalline Polyethylene Terephthalate
  • PVC – Polyvinyl chloride

Thermoformed packaging for food products, such as meat, fish, and cheese, have very demanding specifications and therefore require strong attention in the choice of materials.

Today we often see packagings for fresh food, which must be sealable after use in order to maintain the properties of the content. These containers are usually manufactured using multilayers thermoforms containing PVC and PE. In other case, the package must form an efficient barrier, protecting its content from the moisture in the air. In this case, the multilayered thermoform is usually composed of, PE, and EVOH.

Video: Recycling Process