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No Objection Letter for Recycled Plastics #73

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

See also Recycled Plastics in Food Packaging

June 26, 2002

Robin Tuckerman
47 Dallas Drive,
Victoria, Australia 3047

Dear Ms. Tuckerman:

This responds to your inquiry of April 17, 2002, requesting an opinion on the capability of a secondary recycling process for producing post consumer recycled (PCR) polyethylene terephthlate (PET) to be used as the nonfood-contact inner layer of multilayered packaging in which the outer layers will be virgin PET. The finished trilayered packaging would be used in contact with all food types at room temperature (120o F) or below without any restriction on storage times. In an e-mail message on May 28, 2002, you stated that the source of the PCR PET would be restricted to food containers.

We have previously concluded that a one-mil thick virgin PET food-contact layer is a suitable functional barrier for a PCR PET core layer when used in food-contact applications at room temperature or below without restrictions on food types or storage times, if the post-consumer PET is from food containers and has undergone physical processing. We have no reason, at this time, to change this opinion. Therefore, we have concluded that the intended use of your PCR PET, as the inner nonfood contact layer of laminated food packaging destined for use at room temperature or below without restrictions as to food type or storage times, is acceptable providing that the PCR PET is collected, sorted and processed in the manner described in your submissions of April 17, 2002, and May 28, 2002, and the recycled PET is separated from food by a layer of virgin PET that complies with 21 CFR 177.1630 and is at least 1.0 mil thick.

Although we have concluded that the intended use of PCR-PET that has been collected, sorted and processed in the manner described in your submission is acceptable, you should be aware that we are currently developing a formal policy on the use of post-consumer recycled plastics in contact with food. Thus, the decisions set forth in this letter may need to be modified due to future deliberations on this matter.

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

Sincerely yours,

Sandra Varner
Acting Director,
Division of Food Contact Substance Notification Review, HFS-275
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition

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