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Giving plastic bottles a second life through “Bottle-to-Bottle” in Rostock

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Veolia Environnement
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Veolia Environnement

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In Rostock, Veolia has developed a flake-based recycling method for PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles that allows direct reuse of the recycled material for new food packaging, e.g. a new beverage bottle.

Every year in Rostock, Veolia converts 1 billion PET drinks bottles into so-called recyclate from which preforms/bottles can again be manufactured. PET beverage bottles from deposit systems are transported to the Veolia site where they are pre-sorted according to colour, with their caps and any residual waste removed. Pre-sorted bottles are then ground into flakes and washed at a high temperature. After a mechanical-chemical process, the produced flakes are again suitable for use in the food industry. In a final step all flakes are resorted and the purity is increased. Finally big bags are used for transportation and a narrow quality control before the material is shipped to packaging producers.

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Main results: 

Added value in terms of waste reduction, reuse of materials, emissions reductions:

  • Over one billion bottles recycled each year;
  • Decrease in CO2 emissions: one metric ton of recycled PET bottles is equivalent to 1,5 metric tons of CO2 emissions prevented;
  • Savings in primary material and energy: around 31,000 metric tons of petrol saved per year;
  • One-way PET beverage bottles become re-usable bottles;
  • Creation of local jobs and contribution to recycling awareness;
  • Development of skills and state-of-the-art technologies.