Amongst plastic packaging, PET bottles, especially disposable PET bottles used by beverage companies, comprise a significant portion of the total plastic waste generated.
Recycling technologies for PET are well established, and thus a very large % of the PET bottles made can be recycled back. However, a key challenge is the collection process owing to the retail nature of the product.
Through the mechanism of Extended Producer Responsibility for PET bottles in which the brand that uses the PET bottle also needs to put in place a mechanism to collect it back. Such a mechanism, when well implemented, successfully overcomes the key challenge of PET bottle collection for recycling.
What are the key sustainability benefits?
The most important benefit from EPR for PET bottles is that a very large percentage of these plastics can be recycled back into their original products, resulting in significant reductions in energy use and use of petroleum to make PET bottles.
How does this work?
The EPR usually works through third party organizations that put in a system to collect used PET bottles from retail outlets and from consumer end use points. These organizations might in turn rely on support from other local sources for the same.
In addition to the use of these organizations, brand owners might also provide incentives to their end users to return the PET bottles to the collection points.
Where is innovation needed (which part of the process)?
More innovation will be needed for collection of PET bottles from residential users of these PET bottles.
PET bottle recycling
Plastic collection system
Extended producer responsibility for plastic packaging
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