PET and Sustainability – Post-Consumer Recyclate

Plastics play an ever-increasing role in our daily lives, delivering many benefits from food and beverage safety, to cost and supply chain logistics. However, plastics are now a global political issue in relation to pollution and its effects on our fragile planet. Following this, many leading brands, retailers and packaging companies are setting strict targets to reuse 50-100% recyclable or compostable packaging by 2025 or earlier, which we continue to strive to support.

Whilst PET is the most recycled plastics beverage packaging format, as an industry there is more we can do to address the challenge of single use plastics and minimise the environmental impact. Better design of products, higher use of post-consumer recyclate (PCR) and higher plastic recycling rates will support more sustainable consumption and production patterns for plastics. We also recognise that this is going to take a holistic approach from the whole supply chain as well as NGO’s, Governments and the consumer.

Globally, Petainer is one of the leaders in sustainable innovation for PET beverage containers. Proportionately, we are also one of the largest users of PCR in single use containers and we lead the way in refillable bottles for the beverage industry. Our team of development, processing and quality experts have over a decade of experience in the technical processing requirements of refillables and the use of PCR, as well as end-product specifications for some of the largest global brands. This expertise, and over 10 years of processing knowledge, has given us an enviable edge in developing sustainable packaging with a high level of technical performance, combined with some of the highest PCR usages in the industry. We regularly use up to 50% recycled materials in our products and can process up to 100%.

Brand owners demand high quality standards with food grade quality PET plastic containers manufactured to meet transport, shelf-life and aesthetic specifications. With our unique knowledge of the end to end PCR feedstock safe for food packaging, and our ability to access the product in scale, we can provide a world class, consistently high-quality solution to meet this issue. As a major producer of refillable PET bottles that are capable of up to 25 trips, we are also able to provide brand owners with the option of using 30% PCR, whilst maintaining the integrity of the ‘pack’ and the beverages they serve.

To put our use of PCR in perspective, in 2017 we reduced our carbon footprint in our single serve small containers by 20% (12 thousand tonnes annually) by using PCR compared to 100% virgin resin, which is equivalent to driving over 29 million miles in an average car*.

We continually strive to ensure that more consumers have access to deposit schemes or refillable bottles which also encourages their use in new markets as the more environmentally-friendly option. Similarly, we are always keen to champion efforts to increase recycling rates of one-way bottles, reduce littering and ensure that more PET is recycled and reused as part of the circular economy.

As a business we are committed to exploring innovative new technologies around ever higher usage of PCR and alternative materials, with a continued focus on driving packaging design to become even more circular.

*https://www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator

 

Examples of bottles made from 100% Virgin, with 25% PCR and with 50% PCR material.