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CPME Policy Paper on Non-Recycled Plastic Packaging Waste Contribution

CPME members are working to deliver a circular economy for PET. Design for recycling, higher recycling rates, more and better quality recyclates are the ways to achieve this. We are fully committed to further consultation on how we can help deliver closed loop recycling. Find out more in CPME’s new Policy Paper on fiscal measures and plastic packaging waste. Executive Summary here.

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Delays by the European Commission in authorizing recycling processes for PET food contact applications; 5 industry associations take action!

PET value-chain Trade Associations concerned for the EU Green Deal and the transition to a Circular Economy to become missed opportunities. If you are keen to learn more, please read the Press Release

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Plastipak Italia Preform Srl Member
JBF Global Europe BVBA Member

Is recycling of PET comparable with glass?

Yes, it is.  Although glass has been recycled virtually continuously since its invention and its recycle is a well-established industry, PET can be collected in the same way and recycled by washing and remelting in a similar manner to glass.  Recycling of PET bottles is now a common practice in most industrialised countries.  However, because PET can be used for a variety of other applications it is not always recycled into new bottles.  Melting and forming fibre products is the historic choice for the recycled PET material, as these markets are well developed.

Is PET the best plastic for soft drinks packaging on environmental criteria?

Not specifically, although several LCA comparisons show excellent environmental benefits from the use of PET.  It is important to ensure that the material is 'fit for the purpose' and can be washed and cleansed adequately, in order to make its recycling easier.  Developments in PET materials, improvements in bottle manufacturing technology and lower temperature sterilisation techniques ensure that PET is the preferred material for such a demanding task, as at the same time it confers the benefits of light weight and low material usage.

How can PET have a positive environmental profile if its raw materials are petroleum-based?

PET is a remarkably energy-efficient packaging material.  First of all, it's highly recyclable.  Although the feedstocks for PET are crude oil and natural gas, the environmental impact of PET is very favourable in comparison to glass, aluminium and other container materials.  Because PET is so strong yet light in weight, it allows more product to be delivered with less packaging, less weight and less fuel are required for transportation.  Life cycle studies of PET have consistently shown it to be a highly sustainable material with a positive environmental profile.

Do Eco-profiles show which packaging material is best for the environment?

This is a frequent question that is almost impossible to answer.  When looking at environmental criteria - unless each effect is categorised, classified, and ranked in order of societal importance - a clear answer cannot be given.  For example, which is the most important - reduction of global warming gases, fossil fuel depletion rates, consumption of water, emissions to water courses, air emissions, eutrophication of waterways, reduction of ozone depleting gases, or other parameters?