WHEN it comes to plastic bottles the EU is saying auf wiedersehen to PET and guten tag to r-PET.
The Union’s European Circular Economy Strategy for Plastics has set a target for all plastic packaging to be recyclable by 2030.
This means that manufacturers will have to switch away from – to use the cumbersome jargon – polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles and use instead recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (r-PET)
In recent years the problem of plastic pollution – particularly in the oceans – has never been far from the headlines. Various big name brands are already using packaging with a proportion of recyclable material, but the EU wants to make 100% recyclable – and preferably recycled – plastic mandatory.
Pressure has been mounting from consumers and environmentalists following extensive media coverage of plastic pollution, such as David Attenbrough’s Blue Planet 2.
But making packaging 100% recyclable is easier said than done, according to one Spanish company.
Carlos Enguix is head of Packaging Technologies at Valencia company, AINIA. He explained that a big problem with recycling is that there is often a degradation in the quality of the material in the process.
He added: “By using certain percentages of recycled material with virgin product, we can meet the requirements for packaging foods.”
This is a solution that is being used today , with companies using similar techniques to make r-PET around the world, with some announcing r-PET percentages from 20% to 100% already.
AINIA is a technology center established in 1987 as a private non-profit association.
With 30 years of experience, they work to boost business competitiveness through innovation, already providing solutions for more than 700 associated companies and more than 1,500 clients.