deSter receives EFSA approval for its closed loop recycling concept

Hoogstraten, Belgium, 29 November 2021 – deSter, leading supplier of innovative food packaging and serviceware concepts for aviation and food service industries, received an official EFSA approval on closed loop recycling in aviation. This makes deSter the first and only partner on the airline market to perform food contact safe closed loop recycling for plastic tableware.

For deSter, gategroup member, sustainability starts at the very beginning of designing the product. Being a producer of packaging and tableware, it has been actively working on different solutions which are re-usable, recyclable, or compostable. Establishing a working model for closed loop recycling for reusable plastic products and obtaining necessary approvals has been a project of the past two years. It required enough knowledge to ensure food safety and overcome extra operational challenges for the crew, catering, logistics, etc. Today with the help of its dedicated teams, deSter is able to not only provide guidance and theoretical base for its customers but also manage the practical part of the actual collection & recycling of the items in-house in one of its manufacturing plants worldwide*.

Why closed loop recycling?

According to the IATA 2017 report airline industry generates 5.7 million tonnes of cabin waste per year. Packaging and tableware made of single-use plastic is one of the items being either incinerated or sent to landfill which has a major negative impact on the environment. In order to improve the situation, within the circular economy concept using products multiple times and recycling them into the same product at the end of life is a priority, and many companies and organizations have been working on a viable solution.

How do we make a difference?

deSter has a dedicated team which has in-depth knowledge of the closed loop recycling and is able to create the best possible solution for each customer based on individual operational & supply chain needs of the airline. The main idea is to create a process where products such as serving trays, bowls, cups or drinking glasses are produced in-house, delivered to the airline, used onboard, then collected for washing and reuse. If the product is at the end of its life, it is collected, re-grinded and subsequently manufactured into a new product.

Within this process tableware items can be re-used at minimum 150 times and then made into a new product ensuring food safety throughout the whole time.

“The airline industry is a closed and controlled environment, which is ideal when it comes to recycling. We’ve started back in 2018 with investigating opportunities and learning about industry challenges which brought us today to the official EFSA approval proving that we are serious about the matter and are fully prepared to further implement closed loop recycling with our airline customers.” – Philippe De Naeyer, Director Sustainability & Development at deSter.

Going through this process for the aviation market deSter gained a lot of knowledge and expertise which is now also used for closed loop recycling opportunities in the foodservice market.

If you are interested in exploring opportunities to make a change when it comes to waste management in aviation or food service markets, get in touch with deSter via

About EFSA

EFSA is a European agency funded by the European Union that operates independently of the European legislative executive institutions and EU Member States. One of the responsibilities of EFSA is to assess post-consumer recycling processes for plastic food contact materials. It is regulated (EC Reg. 282/2008) within the European Union that these recycling processes require authorization. In other words, all plastic recycling processes for food contact products based on post-consumer materials require an EFSA assessment with a positive opinion.

*deSter has manufacturing plants in Belgium, the USA, Thailand, and UAE

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About gategroup

gategroup is the global leader in airline catering, retail-on-board and hospitality products and services. gategroup provides passengers with superior culinary and retail experiences, leveraging innovation and advanced technology solutions. Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, gategroup delivers operational excellence through the most extensive catering network in the aviation industry, serving more than 700 million passengers annually from over 200 operating units in over 60 countries/territories across all continents. In 2019, gategroup reached CHF 4.9 billion in revenues generated by approximately 43,000 employees worldwide. For further information, please visit