PCR r-PET - Polyethylene Terephthalate
PCR r-PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) is available in crystallized white. Products made from this type of material become transparent. Areas of application are bottles (bottle-to-bottle), BOPET films, injection molding and polyester. GRS, OBP and food contact certified grades are available.
- Blow molding
- Injection molding
Environmentally friendly materials in industry: PET recyclates as an alternative to new production
Sustainability is an important topic in business today. More and more companies are looking for ways to make their products and services more environmentally friendly. Recycled plastic offers a promising alternative to virgin material. Find out here why recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate), also known as r-PET, is a sustainable alternative and what significance PET has as a recyclable plastic.
What is r-PET?
There are different types of r-PET, which differ in purity and colour. Some types of PET recyclate also have special properties, such as high stiffness. It is break-resistant and has a high form stability at over 80 °C. PET recyclate is used in many different applications, such as the production of packaging, films, textiles, automotive parts or furniture.
How does PET recycling work?
The PET recycling process starts with the collection of PET waste, and then with the first rough sorting of the waste. The PET material is washed and then processed into flakes. The flakes are then hot washed again before further sorting takes place. This time, PET flakes are separated from any other flakes and then sorted by colour.
In a next step, the PET flakes can now be melted down and processed into granulate. For special applications that place high additional demands on the PET pellets, the Solid State Polycondensation (SSP) process can be used at the end. This allows the intrinsic viscosity (IV) to be adjusted so that it corresponds to the value of new PET pellets. The colour of the PET regranulate remains unchanged. The newly created r-PET can thus be used for food-grade bottles.
Properties of recycled PET
Recycled PET has similar properties to virgin PET depending on its quality and can be used for various applications.
Some of the differences between PET pellets and virgin material are:
Colour and transparency: as recycled plastic comes from different sources, the colour of recycled PET can vary. However, through various processes such as colour sorting, transparent PET recyclate can be obtained for all kinds of applications.
Molecular weight: Different applications of PET require different degrees of polymerisation, which can be achieved by changing the process conditions such as the SSP process mentioned above.
Purity: r-PET may contain small traces of other plastics or impurities that could not be completely removed during the recycling process. However, there are strict standards for the purity of recycled PET to ensure that it is suitable for certain applications.
The shift to a circular economy: quality control in the production of PET pellets
Quality control is an important aspect in the production of recycled PET. The PET material is regularly checked for its purity and properties to ensure that it meets the requirements for the respective application. Various tests and analyses are carried out for this purpose.
Certifications such as Global Recycled Standard GRS confirm that the material originates from post-consumer recycling PCR and that environmental and occupational health and safety standards are met, while Ocean Bound Plastic OBP indicates that the recycled PET comes from ocean regions without functioning waste management.
Food safe r-PET
Our food-safe r-PET is approved for use in products that come into direct contact with food by the American Food and Drug Administration FDA and the European Food Safety Authority EFSA. It can therefore serve as a replacement for new PET plastic in most applications. It is made from high-quality post-consumer recycled PCR water bottles that are recycled in a bespoke processing process to ensure the best quality and consistent performance. The FDA has no objection to the use of up to 100% recycled content in the manufacture of articles intended for contact with all types of food under FDA Conditions of Use (COU) B through H. In addition, the r-PET Global Recycled Standard GRS certified. This ensures from source to product that it is actually PCR r-PET.
The FDA proposes the following conditions of use
- r-PET High IV pellets for use with up to 100% recycled content in the manufacture of articles for contact with all types of food according to Conditions of Use (COU) B to H. 1
- Regular r-PET pellet for use with up to 100% recycled content in the manufacture of articles for contact with all types of food according to COU C-G. 1
- r-PET flakes and r-PET regular pellets to be used to manufacture a non-food contact layer of a multi-layer food packaging provided that a food contact layer is virgin PET with a thickness of >= 25 µm (~0.001 inch) is for use at room temperature and below (COU E-G), 1 and virgin PET with a thickness of >= 50 µm (~0.002 in) for use at higher temperatures, including use as a double ovenable container for cooking food at 150 °C for 30 min (COU A-H), 1 if only food packaging is used in the feedstock to produce the recycled PET layer.
This food-safe plastic recyclate complies with the following regulations
- FDA regulation 21 CFR § 177.1630 [Section (f) & (g)] as amended
- European Union (EU) EC10/2011 (including the latest amendments of 2019).
- EU REACH Regulation (EC) No. 197/2006 Article 33 (1) for SVHCs (219) from the 25th SVHC in the candidate list (2021.07)
- ROHS DIRECTIVE (2011/65/EU): Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment
- ROHS DIRECTIVE (2011/65/EU) and EU Delegated Directive of the Amendment Commission 2015/863 effective July 22, 2019: Phthalate content
- CONEG legislation in the USA and EN712015/863/EU (heavy metals)
Advantages, challenges and solutions in the use of recycled PET
The use of recycled PET offers many advantages for companies interested in sustainable production. The usage of r-PET reduces the need for virgin raw materials and thus conserves resources. Greenhouse gas emissions are also reduced as less energy is needed to produce virgin raw materials. According to a study from 2020 by the Association of Plastic Recyclers, PET recyclate is a more environmentally friendly alternative to virgin raw materials, as the CO2 emissions are approx. 60% lower than those of virgin granulate.
In the packaging and film sector, PET recyclates can be used for the production of food packaging, beverage bottles or cosmetics packaging. In the textile industry, r-PET can also be used for the production of clothing or bags. Here, the material is often blended with other recycled or sustainable fibres to improve the properties of the end product.
In the technical industry, recycled PET can be used to produce housings for electronic devices or for wear-resistant parts such as gear wheels or door handles. The use of recyclates in these areas help to conserve resources and supports companies in achieving their sustainability goals.
Another big trend is so-called bottle-to-bottle recycling. The focus here is on the production of high-quality and food-grade PET recyclate from old PET bottles, which are then reused for new PET bottles. Two modern processing methods are used for this purpose. In a first process called URRC (named after the United Resource Recovery Corporation), the flakes are intensively cleaned in an energy- and material-saving way without melting. In a second process, called the Starlinger process, the PET flakes are raised to food-grade quality that meets the highest food standards by melting, filtration of the melt and subsequent granulation.
In the future, the potential of PET recycling and recyclates will continue to grow as the demand for sustainable products and production processes increases. Optimised sorting and cleaning as well as the use of new technologies can help to further improve the quality of r-PET and thus attract even more companies to use it.
Not found what you are looking for or still have questions? We will be happy to help you source recycled PET for you based on your purchasing specification. Feel free to send an email to email@example.com and get in touch with us. Or use the form below to order a sample.
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