CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The National Association for PET Container Resources is broadening its mission.
The group is forming two self-funding councils to push markets for polyethylene naphthalate packaging and to look at the impact of new technologies on PET.
Both the Naphthalate Polymers Council and the Emerging Technologies Council became part of NAPCOR in June. The expansion is part of the Charlotte, N.C.-based trade group's recent attempts to expand its mission beyond recycling to include other PET issues.
NPC had been part of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. since 1996, but left SPI because working with NAPCOR's emerging technologies group offered a better fit for PEN, said Bob Minney, NPC chairman and product manager for polyester for Shell Chemical Co. of Houston.
``NAPCOR has done wonders for PET, helping to drive the environmental issues and helping with the infrastructure,'' Minney said.
The group still is determining its goals in NAPCOR. However, it said it may shift its emphasis from looking at how PEN effects the PET recycling stream to disseminating the group's conclusions that ``probably all recycled PET applications can accept naphthalates to some extent,'' Minney said.
The Food and Drug Administration has held up commercialization of PEN because of recycling concerns and still is reviewing it, an FDA official said.
A magnetic separation system that can get naphthalate to less than 2 percent of the PET stream — less than levels that have been of concern — has been commercialized and was introduced at a waste trade show in Europe in the past two months, Minney said.
The other group, the ETC, will promote new technologies that improve polyesters to meet future packaging needs, particularly beyond plastic bottles, according to NAPCOR.
The Emerging Technologies Council also will look at the impact that new technologies, such as multilayer bottles that combine PET with other resins, will have on PET recycling, said Tom Clayton, marketing manager for Hoechst Polymers in Wilmington, Del.
``If we produced a package that we did not take into account the recycling stream and the impact on recycling, it could become a black eye for the PET industry as a whole, which could end up creating barriers for the use of PET,'' Clayton said.
The group wants to look at new packaging being developed and prepare PET, particularly as the industry continues to mature, he said.
The ETC also aims to provide an industry voice on packaging issues and on communications with the FDA, Clayton said.
Clayton, Minney and NAPCOR officials would not comment on the budgets for either council, but said each will pay for its projects and operate as free-standing units of NAPCOR.
NPC has four members — Amoco Chemicals, DuPont Polyester, Eastman Chemical Co. and Shell.
The technologies council has 11 members, but Clayton would not identify them.
NAPCOR officials said they plan to announce a third council in four to six weeks.
NAPCOR, formerly the National Association for Plastic Container Recovery, changed its name April 13.