Veolia: recycling PET bottles into new food packaging

PET bottles
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Technopolis Group

In Rostock, Germany, Veolia has been extending the useful life of plastic bottles using a PET (Poly Ethylene Terephthalate) plastic recycling process.

Once used, the plastic bottles are collected, taken to the recycling centre and sorted by colour. The sorted bottles are shredded into PET flakes and washed in hot water. A mechanical and chemical recovery process transforms the flakes into a product suitable for use with food. They are then purified before being packaged for shipment to bottle manufacturers.

Main results
  • One metric tonne of recycled PET flakes saves 1.5 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions
  • The "bottle-to-bottle" process eliminates the melting stage in recycling, saving more than 31 000 tonnes of oil and close to 113 000 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions annually
  • Manufacturing a plastic bottle with recycled PET rather than virgin PET reduces CO2 emissions by 70%
  • 1 billion plastic bottles are recycled each year for use as food packaging
  • New bottles can be made using up to 50% recycled PET