Food

No Objection Letter for Recycled Plastics #62

Return to inventory: Submissions on Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) Plastics for Food-Contact Articles

See also Recycled Plastics in Food Packaging


August 1, 2000

William R. Livingston
Polystyrene Recycling Company of America
21 South American Street
Woodbury, NJ 08096

Dear Mr. Livingston:

This responds to your inquiry of February 21, 2000, requesting a letter of "non-objection" (NOL) for the use of recycled polystyrene resin in the manufacture of food-contact articles. During a telephone conversation with Andrew Zajac of the FDA on July 11, 2000, you stated that your recycling process described in your submission has already been evaluated by FDA, and NOLs on the process were issued to Dolco Packaging Corporation on March 1 and July 1, 1993, and to Elm Packaging Company on July 17, 1995. You state that these letters were based on the use of your company's post-consumer polystyrene resin as the recycled content of Dolco's and ELM's polystyrene packaging items. Your company would now also like an NOL for the use of your recycled polystyrene resin for essentially the same conditions of use that were permitted in these earlier letters.

We previously concluded in our letters to Dolco dated March 1 and July 1, 1993, that post-consumer recycled (PCR) polystyrene resin produced by your company's process would be acceptable for use in making trays for holding refrigerated meat and poultry, fruit and vegetable containers, and food-service clam shells, providing that the PCR resin was previously used for food-contact applications and there is strict source control. In our letter to Elm dated July 17, 1995, we concluded that the PCR resin produced by your company's process could be used as the blending component of a non-food contact layer of polystyrene containers, providing that 1) the PCR polystyrene is separated from food by a layer of food-grade, virgin, polystyrene not less than 1 mil thick, 2) the PCR polystyrene was previously used for food contact applications and there is strict source control, and 3) the containers are limited for "fast food" service applications to contact hot and cold foods (i.e., those involving refrigerated or room temperatures or, if higher temperatures are involved, contact is limited to very short time frames.) Although we had specified a maximum limit on the percentage of PCR polystyrene that could be present in the non-food contact layer, we no longer feel that this restriction is necessary.

We have no reason to change the opinions in these letters at this time. Therefore, the use of PCR polystyrene resin that is collected, sorted, and processed in the same manner described in the Dolco and ELM submissions referenced in our letters of March 1 and July 1, 1993, and July 17, 1995, is suitable for the uses described above. Additionally, you have also stated that your PCR polystyrene resin would be used as a blending component in the manufacture of plates and cutlery. Although we did not previously consider these uses when we reviewed the Dolco and Elm submissions, the conditions of use (i.e., time and temperature) for plates and cutlery are similar to that of food-service clam shells. Therefore, we would have no objection to these two additional uses of your company's PCR polystyrene resin.

If you have any further questions concerning this matter, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Sincerely yours,

Sandra L. Varner
Acting Director,
Division of Petition Control, HFS-215
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition

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