12 October 2012 13:14 [Source: ICIS news]
ARTIMINO, Italy (ICIS)--Bio polyethylene terephthalate (PET), despite a major industry opportunity, is faced with many challenges and risks, Richard Hall, the chairman of Zenith International, a consultancy that advises the food and drinks industry, said late on Thursday.
Speaking at the Global Services International (GSI) PET Day in Artimino, Florence, Hall said that recent years have seen a backlash against oil-based packaging and the volatility in the price of upstream oil has compounded the pressure.
Certain group’s have said PET is bad for the planet and in the case of sugary soft drinks, being blamed for contributing to obesity and public health. This has resulted in a push to light-weight and recycled PET bottles, although these are still oil-based and essentially less consumer friendly.
Hall questioned whether there will be an amount of recycling which will alleviate public concerns or whether oil-based packaging will always be a concern.
Were bio packaging to succeed over recycling, it would have to adhere to criteria such as being from plant-based material; not from food supply; without subsidy; locally produced; it would have to be 100% recyclable and would have to perform equivalent to PET, Hall said, stressing this final point.
Various case studies highlighted by Hall showed brand owners to be dedicated to trying to achieve all of the above but none had succeeded.
Bio PET is fraught with challenges like having to source it from other regions such as Brazil. The cost of bio PET is not equivalent to cheaper oil-based PET. There is also the question of competing with food supply.
Unlike bio PET, recycling and light weighting have been embraced by the industry. However, despite the current risks and unknowns, the ultimate goal and ideal solution is bio PET, according to Hall.
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