Recycled PET demand only limited by collection rates

By Paul Gander

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Recycling

Recycled PET demand only limited by collection rates
The use of bio-polyethylene terephthalate (bio-PET) by brand owners such as Coca-Cola is perfectly compatible with growth in demand for recycled PET (rPET), says converter and recycler APPE (formerly Artenius PET Packaging Europe). The firm says collection rates alone are restraining further increases in demand for food-grade recyclate.

Manager of APPE's Beaune, France, recycling plant Frédéric Blanchard said: "The biggest concern for the recycling industry is the lack of bottles. On average, only around 50% of the available PET in Europe is collected. The other 50% is incinerated, landfilled or exported mostly to the Far East."

Group quality, safety, environment and sustainability manager Billy Jansen added: "There's a disconnect between collection systems on the one hand and brand owners and retailers on the other. That's where Germany has the advantage with its Green Dot system, since retailers such as Aldi collect their own bottles."

Nonetheless, at the end of 2010, APPE was sufficiently confident both about demand and feedstock supply to increase food-grade capacity at the plant. The addition of a fourth washing and extrusion line increases capacity for its SuperCycle food-grade material from 18,000t to 28,000t. The plant also produces rPET for non-food applications.

Jansen sees no threat to rPET demand from bio-PET, produced from bio-ethanol. "They sit nicely alongside each other, and APPE is producing bottles and preforms incorporating both materials. The bio-PET can itself be recycled, and has the advantage of coming from a sustainable and renewable source."

Coca-Cola is the single largest user of rPET for bottles in Europe, followed by Danone. Other major rPET users in the UK include Highland Spring.

Earlier this year, APPE was recognised by Coca-Cola Enterprises as its Supplier of the Year for 2010.

Related topics: Drinks

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