Nova Chemicals has introduced a high-density recycled polyethylene (HDPE) that complies with FDA regulations. The company says the new grade, which debuted in early 2023 and is being included in its Syndigo rPE portfolio, is its first mechanically recycled food-contact resin.

Global Data analyst Dominic Cakebread told Packaging Gateway exclusively: “Nova Chemicals gaining FDA-compliance for its mechanically recycled HDPE is an important step in the development of more widespread use of recycled polymers for difficult food contact applications, moving the packaging world closer to a more truly circular plastics economy.”

The resin, Syndigo rPE-0860-FC, enables converters and brand owners to put recycled PE into food packaging goods since it emits less emissions than virgin polyethylene. It stems from natural high-density polyethylene (HDPE) milk jugs and is perfect for a variety of flexible and rigid food packaging styles.

Nova Chemicals director of mechanical recycling, lan Schrob explained: “Adding the first food-contact rPE to the SYNDIGO portfolio increases rPE usage and underscores our commitment to eliminating plastic waste and reducing the carbon footprint of plastic packaging.

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“Achieving the high level of performance needed for use in food contact puts this recycled resin in a field with few others and allows our customers to target the most demanding applications.”

Nova Chemicals explains Syndigo rPE-0860-FC is intended to be an alternative for converters and brand owners striving towards more sustainable products and packaging.

Anna Rajkovic, circular economy market manager at Nova Chemicals, told Packaging Gateway that “A high-performing mechanically recycled polyethylene with a broad range of food contact use conditions gives package designers the flexibility to incorporate recycled content where they want it and at the desired level.”

Rajkovic added that “It’s an example of circularity in action in the most demanding of applications – food contact – and raises the standard on what can be achieved.”

In 2020, Nova Chemicals signed a long-term agreement with Canadian recycler Merlin Plastics to increase the supply of post-consumer recyclate (PCR).