How can PET plastic bottles be recycled?

News 27 Oct 2021

Nick Fewings Ywvgg0ldbok Unsplash

PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) is a thermoplastic polymer resin (which doesn’t contain polyethylene) and was first manufactured in North America in the mid-1940s by DuPont chemists who were searching for new synthetic fibres.

What can PET be used for?

PET can be used for a range of things; however, is mainly known for the following uses:

  • Wheelie bins and food caddies
  • Reusage crates and pallets
  • Carbonated drinks bottles
  • Fibres for clothing
  • Non-food bottles

Why is PET plastic recycling so important?

Due to how useful plastic is, it has quickly become one of the most useful materials of all time, in fact, we now use about 20 times more plastic than we did over 50 years ago. Because of PETs popularity and widespread use, the correct handling and recycling has become extremely important to minimise impacts to a whole raft of areas including the economy, environment, wildlife, landfill, climate and more. We do have the opportunity to optimise the lifespan of plastics by re-using and recycling PET plastic as many times as possible in a bid to reduce the volume of plastic we manufacture which harms the environment.

Environmental Impact

So, what is the environmental impact of reducing the production of new plastic and recycling plastics?

  • Reduce the amount of solid waste in landfill
  • Reduce emission of gases like carbon dioxide
  • Reduce energy consumption in the production of plastic
  • Preserve non-renewable fossil fuels

How Can PET bottles be recycled?

Post-consumer PET material is typically collected through two means:

  1. Collected through recycling programs, such as local recycling centres
  2. Recycled via household recycling collections

Recyclable materials, like PET, may be sorted from other recyclables at material recycling centres and baled for shipment to a PET recycling facility, such as Veolia.

How Are PET Bottles Recycled?

  1. Once PET bales arrive at the recycling plant the first step is the sorting process
  2. The PET is then sorted to remove any unwanted materials
  3. After this, the PET is washed using hot water to remove impurities
  4. Following this, the PET is then crushed into flakes
  5. In some processing of PET recycling, these flake particles are then melted down and formed into small pellets, about the size of a grain of rice
  6. The final stage then involves the plastic being moulded and reused for alternative purposes

The Future of Adhesives – Innovative Wash Off

During the PET washing process, it’s important to note recycling label materials and PET are growing in importance due to the introduction of Plastic Tax. As such to maximise recyclability, we have developed innovative wash-off adhesives as part of our PurityWash range. These adhesives allow labels to wash off of PET bottles, leaving bottles residue free, maximising the recyclability of both PET bottles and label materials. This allows brands in numerous industries to improve their sustainability credentials, reducing their environmental footprint and maximising the recyclability of plastics. These adhesives can be used with a variety of our faces and liners, speak to our team to learn more.

Speak to our team

If you’d like to learn more about the opportunities PurityWash presents you in maximising the recyclability of plastic and reducing plastic taxes then please get in touch with our team or call us directly on 01505 707 700 to learn more.

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