Plastic beverage bottles.

The FDA issued a number of approvals for recycling technologies to produce recycled resin for use in food and beverage packaging. | Funtap/Shutterstock

The Food and Drug Administration issued a slew of letters giving reclaimers the green light to produce recycled resin for use in food and drink packaging last year.

From April to December 2020, the FDA issued six letters of no objection (LNOs) covering recycling of PE and PP and nine LNOs covering the recycling of PET.

LNOs allow plastics recycling companies to use their technologies to produce recycled resin for sale into food and drink packaging markets. In issuing the letters, the FDA was convinced the recycling processes would result in contaminant concentrations of 0.5 parts per billion or less in the food, below its “threshold of regulatory concern.”

Plastics Recycling Update publishes a roundup of LNOs twice a year. The last roundup, which was published in August 2020, covered letters issued in late 2019 and early 2020. The database of all FDA LNOs is available here.

(Unless otherwise noted, the letters below cover mechanical recycling processes that generate recycled resin for direct food and/or drink contact at 100% recycled content).

Polyolefins letters

Arpema Plásticos SA de CV on May 5 for LLDPE, LDPE, HDPE and PP (plastic exposure limited to room and refrigerated temperatures).

Erema Group on Nov. 23 for HDPE (room to frozen temperatures permitted).

Fresh Pak Corporation on May 28 for recycling HDPE or LDPE into grocery bags and secondary and tertiary packaging films that won’t come into direct contact with food (room to frozen temperatures permitted).

KW Plastics on April 29 for PP (no conditions of use specified).

Merlin Plastics Supply on Dec. 15 for HDPE (boiling down to frozen temperatures, and then reheated in the package permitted).

Ultra-Poly Corporation on Nov. 13 for PP (no conditions of use specified).

PET letters

Alcamare on Sept. 29 (room to frozen temperatures permitted).

APG Polytech and Far Eastern New Century Corporation received three letters on Nov. 24 (all allow 150-degree-plus temperatures down to frozen). Two are for 100% recycled-content packages and the third is for 50% recycled content.

Erema on Sept. 28 (150-degree-plus temperatures down to frozen permitted).

Indorama Ventures Sustainable Solutions Fontana on May 8 (room to frozen temperatures permitted).

Luigi Bandera on May 22 (150-degree-plus temperatures down to frozen permitted).

M&G Polimeros Mexico on May 29 for a chemical recycling process: glycolysis (no conditions of use specified).

Pashupati Group of Industries on Nov. 25 (room to frozen temperatures permitted).

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