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 international R&D center in the field of polymeric materials with the aim of providing innovative and sustainable materials solutions that meet tomorrow’s societal challenges. Its current shared research programs are in the fields of

  • Lightweight Automotive,
  • Sustainable Buildings,
  • Additive Manufacturing and
  • Circular Packaging.

Brightlands Materials Center is a joint innovation center of TNO, the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (, and the Province of Limburg, and is located at the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Geleen, The Netherlands.

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