31 May 2011 11:48 [Source: ICIS news]
KRAKOW, Poland (ICIS)--Danone is concerned about the weakening quality of post-consumer polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bales due to contamination, a senior manager at the major consumer company said on Tuesday.
Danone uses post-consumer PET to produce bottles containing 25% recycled PET (R-PET) material in its Volvic and Evian brands.
The weakening of tensile strength during the recycling process means that R-PET must be blended with virgin material in bottle usage – with current technical limits at approximately 50% R-PET content.
The collection of post-consumer PET with other plastics such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) can lead to contamination causing discolouration and black spots within recycled bottles, which are unnattractive to consumers.
“There is today a problem with the quality of [post-consumer] PET bales due to the growing presence of barrier material dramatically impacting quality,” Phillipe Diercxsens, Packaging and Environment Manager at Danone Waters Division, said at the 12th CEE PET and Balkans Markets conference.
Barrier material is used in recycled packaging to shield bottle contents from contact with PET and also to reinforce the tensile strength of bottles.
Diercxsens particularly highlighted the role of "lightweighting" – the reduction of the weight of PET in plastic bottles – which lowers the tensile strength of PET bottles, leading to more barrier materials being required.
Between 2007 and 2010, lightweighting led to a 25% reduction in the weight of virgin PET bottles, according to ICIS.
“It is more and more difficult for recylers to do their job. Enhanced barrier techniques lead to yellowing [the discolouration of bottles],” Diercxsens said.
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Discolouration and contamination from plastic waste can lead to the rejection of R-PET material from buyers.
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