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PET is a plastic widely used for rigid food packaging and drinks, personal care and homecare bottles. (Source: ALPLA)
PET is a plastic widely used for rigid food packaging and drinks, personal care and homecare bottles. (Source: ALPLA)

ALPLA Group, an international plastic packaging and recycling specialist, joins a new consortium for chemical recycling of PET. The consortium intends to speed up the commercialization of enhanced recycling technology, BP Infinia, which turns opaque and difficult-to-recycle PET plastic waste into recycled feedstocks.

The consortium intends to combine the capabilities and experience of its members across the polyester packaging value chain – packaging and recycling specialist ALPLA; food, drink and consumer goods producers Britvic, Danone and Unilever; waste management and recycling specialist Remondis; and energy and petrochemicals producer BP – to develop a new circular approach to dealing with PET plastic waste.

Georg Lässer, Head of Recycling at ALPLA said: “ALPLA is delighted to join this cross-functional project with partners from the entire value chain. It completes our intense activities besides mechanical recycling and focuses on post-industrial PET waste, difficult-to-recycle PET packaging and PET thermoform trays.”

Rita Griffin, BP Chief Operating Officer Petrochemicals said: “BP is experienced in developing and scaling up technology and we’ll do this again with our innovative BP Infinia process. But we know we cannot create circularity on our own. That’s why we are thrilled to be working together with industry leaders to develop and prove a practical business model that can hopefully contribute to making all types of polyester waste infinitely recyclable.”

Avoid downcycling as well as landfill and incineration

PET is a lightweight, durable and versatile material and one of the most collected and recycled types of plastic. Of the PET plastic bottles collected globally, more than 75% are recycled, but only 12% of those collected make it back into new bottles.

The remainder is currently lost from the bottle-to-bottle loop, as it is used for other applications which are usually disposed of directly after use to landfills or incinerators, due to lack of separate collection.

The consortium members believe by joining forces they can speed up the commercialization of the technology, infrastructure and demand needed to process billions of opaque and difficult-to-recycle PET bottles and food trays that are currently disposed of each year, including those that are difficult to recycle by current conventional recycling methods.

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