Challenges of PET Trays Recycling

by Marnix van Gurp, Managing Director, Brightlands Materials Center

Although PET bottles are already reasonably well recycled, the recycling rates for PET trays are virtually zero. Among a number of different reasons why this is the case, the design of the trays plays an important role. The waste fraction of PET trays contains a considerable amount of other polymers than PET, in particular due to the lidding films which consist in many cases of multimaterial laminates.

In addition, the material used for the trays is often based on recycled bottle-PET (rPET), which has lower quality than virgin material.

The presentation will highlight these and other challenges and will propose directions to improve the recyclability of PET trays.


Marnix van Gurp is since 2015 Managing Director of Brightlands Materials Center, an independent R&D center in the field of polymer materials, initiated by TNO and the Province of Limburg. He worked many years for DSM, first as a scientist and later in R&D management for DSM Engineering Plastics.

Brightlands Materials Center is an independent R&D center in the field of sustainable materials solutions.

The heart of Brightlands Materials Center is an evolving ecosystem where scientific excellence, innovative applications and societal challenges come together.

Brightlands Materials Center offers a meeting place at Brightlands Chemelot Campus and close collaboration with a global network of leading companies along the value chain and renowned universities and institutes.

The themes of research address major societal challenges such as sustainable energy, mobility, and health & well-being.

Three shared research programs are currently running:
• Lightweight Automotive
• Sustainable Buildings
• Additive Manufacturing

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