Home' Asia Pacific Packaging Magazine : December 2014 Contents 15
PET: the bottle and beyond
PepsiCo Deutschland in which energy
savings of 19 per cent were achieved,
with a return on investment in just 12
Recycling rates – good but not
THE recycling of PET is crucial in
enhancing its position as a sustainable
material. Producing virgin PET
requires the use of finite resources so
adopting processes which allow it be
100 per cent recycled are key.
Analysis shows that recycling PET
uses two-thirds less energy than that
required to manufacture virgin PET.
In principle, all PET bottles could be
manufactured using recycled PET
(R-PET). This is because, as long as the
resulting R-PET is approved for food
contact, then it can be used for this
However there are sometimes issues
in the take-up of R-PET. This is largely
in terms of marketing since the slight
discolouration that can result from
employing R-PET does not impact in
any way on the bottle’s performance.
By far a greater barrier to the
adoption of R-PET is the lack of
availability of quality R-PET. Currently
the demand for R-PET outstrips supply.
This is due in par t to the traditional
mechanical methods of recycling PET
bottles in which it was difficult to
efficiently separate the contaminants,
particularly dyes, from the plastic.
Collection rates of recycled bottles are
also an issue, with highly fluctuating
rates across different regions.
While global recycling rates continue
to improve, there is still much work
to be done in post-consumer PET
packaging. In Europe more than 60
billion bottles were recycled in 2012,
representing an overall collection rate
of more than 52 per cent.
In the US the gross recycling
rate for 2012 was 30.8 per cent, an
improvement of 1.5 per cent on the 2011
figure, certainly helped by a surge in
the recycling of single-serve PET water
bottles of almost 20 per cent.
Asia is leading the way with a rate of
almost 80 per cent, whereas in Eastern
Europe only 12 per cent of bottles are
collected and recycled.
However, it is important to qualify
those figures and recognise that in
many developing countries a discarded
PET bottle has a greater intrinsic
value. For those living in poverty,
the collection of discarded bottles
from households or open landfill sites
provides a revenue stream and this
is one contributing factor in the high
recycling rates of cer tain regions.
Despite the challenges of sourcing
R-PET, many of the major beverage
brand owners are committed to
increasingly adopting it in their bottling
processes, w ith some already achieving
usage levels in excess of 50 per cent for
certain product lines.
take into consideration. Sterilisation
is an impor tant par t of the bottling
process but can use up precious
resources, including water.
Sidel was the first to introduce a
fully dry decontamination system.
Predis, for bottle preforms, and Capdis,
for caps. These provide 100 per cent
decontamination of the bottles and caps
using hydrogen peroxide mist, without
the need for any water and using little
Traditional aseptic filling systems
that require wet bottle rinsing consume
around 180 cubic metres of water
and 220 litres of chemicals per day.
Reducing or removing this resource use
is a clear sustainability benefit.
IN terms of energy inefficiency, the blow
moulder is often the biggest consumer
given that it accounts for as much as 70
per cent of electricity consumption on
a PET production line. A proportion of
this is attributable to compressed air.
Programmes are now available
which provide an initial audit to
measure electricity consumption, along
with influencing factors such as air
pressure and leaks, with mechanical
testing on all the blow moulder’s sub-
The process and technical qualities
of the package and the overall
production environment in which the
machine operates can then be measured
to prov ide a comprehensive analysis
from which a personalised action plan is
Through this, energy and cost-saving
targets can be identified, w ith ongoing
monitoring of energy and utilities
consumption put in place to see if those
targets are being met. It also offers
the opportunity to adopt continuous
improvement initiatives, based on
the strategic information supplied, to
reduce waste and improve sustainability
Audits can often also highlight
the potential for new technologies to
improve the energy performance of
an existing line. Lamps can consume
electrical power used by a PET blower
so any focus here can bring substantial
Eco ovens, which require fewer
heating modules and lamps, can be
installed on a blow moulder to reduce
preform heating time and to ensure
more ef ficient use of energy. Eco
lamps are also available which can
offer significant sav ings: an example
is a project that Sidel worked on with
Building lights for poor areas from PET bottles and solar panels in Puebla, Mexico
Continued on p16
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