British design and mould specialist Invicta Plastics has claimed a world-first with rigid, food-safe products made from 100% recycled PET and HDPE.
The company, which also came up with the plastic ruler, says development has taken almost four years of research and millions of pounds of investment in the new technology.
Invicta Group chief executive, the Countess of Onslow, pictured above, said that until now plastic drinking bottles, lids and milk cartons could only be turned into low cost injection moulded cups, plates and tablewear and other products by adding virgin polymer or stabiliser.
“We trialled and tested hundreds of recycled materials sourced in the UK, Europe and the USA and created two new processes that we have called rPETable and rNEWable.
“These processes were developed keeping in pace with the rapid technical improvements in recycling and recycled material production in the last three years.”
Invicta says it is working with Coca-Cola Enterprises, Greenpac and Asda to explore the potential of these processes for products and merchandise.
Liam Knowles, sales and marketing director at Greenpac UK, said: “We were the first to create a product using Invicta’s rPETable process - and now that every test has been passed to prove that these products are rigid, durable and food safe, it’s realistic to say that no business should ever need to use a single virgin polymer again for this type of product.
“This puts Britain years ahead of other injection moulders”, Knowles added.
Invicta Industries was formed in 1946, inventing a polymer and rubber mix to create durable soles for military boots to combat foot rot problems associated with leather in jungle humidity. In the following years, it went on to invent the first plastic ruler and fake pearls.
In the 1950s, the company created plastic serving trays for Coca-Cola and launched the hula-hoop in Europe for the Wham-O Toy Company.
A decade later, after approaching The Beatles and The Hollies with a concept for mass produced badges and fan memorabilia, Invicta became the first company to produce branded pop merchandise.
All photos: Stewart Goldstein