Recycled polyethylene terephthalate (RPET) can be used to make many products including fibre for polyester carpet; fabrics for T-shirts, long underwear, athletic shoes, luggage, upholstery and sweaters; fibre fill for sleeping bags and winter coats; industrial strapping, sheet and film; automotive parts, such as luggage racks, headliners, fuse boxes, bumpers, grilles and door panels; as well as new PET containers for both food and non-food products (e.g. approx. 9% of RPET is converted into food perform containers e.g. fruit boxes).
Europe – RPET in Europe is a strongly developing market. Demand increases are driven by high PET prices and pressure imposed by EU Legislation (The European Packaging Directive 2004/12/EC) stating that a minimum of 23% of plastic items should be recycled.
The level of recycling and availability of RPET differs greatly by country. Germany leads the pack and recycles around 50% of its PET. Other countries such as France, UK, Belgium, Netherlands and Italy have also been active in recycling.
RPET has been largely consumed by the fibre industry as it is sensitive to thermal degradation as well as degradation from contaminants such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Degraded RPET is not suitable for bottle to bottle, strapping and sheet extrusion applications which demand high quality RPET in order retain the PET properties of stability and pressure-resistance.
RPET is defined in this methodology as material derived from products originally made from virgin PET polymer. This source is principally bottles that have been used by the consumer and then diverted from residual post-consumer waste for the purpose of converting them into new finished or semi-finished products. The latter may typically be pre-forms for more bottles for the soft drinks or beer market, the former would include textiles, sheet and strapping.
To find out more Recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate Methodology October 2013