The collection of domestic plastic waste is a big success in the Netherlands. The challenge now is to realise the same scale in waste processing and recycling. This asks for new high end uses of recycled plastic.
De Burg Groep and chain partners have succeeded in bringing a vinegar bottle on the market made of 100% PET plastic (see photo). This was accomplished in an NRK chain project, in which different partners in the chain worked together to find sustainable solutions. The participant were a material supplier, a producer, a collector, a sorter and a recycler.
Colourless and transparent
A key conclusion is that recycled PET plastic retains most of its value if it’s colourless and transparent. This option is the most workable and therefore could potentially attract the most interested companies. Japanese legislation only allows colourless and transparent bottles on their market. By making this vinegar bottle De Burg Groep manages an optimal value preservation. After first use the bottles can be reused for food approved rPET bottles.
In addition, the project group researched an even more ambitious option, whether it would be possible to make a vinegar bottle for non-food application made of recycled PET-trays. PET-trays are a waste stream that is sorted by synthetics sorters since the beginning of 2016. However, a suitable application for this stream hasn’t yet been found.
Within the limited time of the project parties haven’t been able to process the PET tray material into bottles. The main obstacle is the dirt layer and the lack of dedicated PET trays processing companies. The project partners will continue in a work group to see what the next steps should be. Furthermore, the KIDV will research the potential of recycled PET-trays. They will also look at the design (front of the chain) of PET-trays. A better design would make them more suitable for recycling.
The project’s key conclusion: if you want to introduce a new package, make sure you know how it can be recycled (in practice!).
Ingeborg Gort (Partners for Innovation) firstname.lastname@example.org