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Published on : Jun 11, 2015

Plastics Recyclers Europe (PER), which is the plastics association based in Brussels has stated that the current undertakings in the PET market could risk the future of PET recycling.

As per PRE, PET is considered to be the most recycled material in the plastic packaging market, with the usage of PET for both fiber and packaging applications. PRE states that in few years down the line, milk packaging, domestic and personal care products market will progressively shift to PET from high density polyethylene (HDPE) for reasons such as cost-effectiveness, sustainability, and marketing. 

Since the products are packaged in colorful containers, PRE stated, the switch may lead to production of additional 300,000 metric tons of colored PET, which include black and white. This is so as PET recycling markets has exhausted its limit and cannot afford to include other colors for absorption.

PRE points that if the containers are accumulated and sorted, the large number of colored containers would require additional recycling in existing PET recycling units. For recyclers to sell the colored fraction, black or gray tinting of the material would be needed, and currently there is no market which has demand for the material in high quantities.

As stated by PRE, if PET manufactured milk bottles consists titanium dioxide, the end product by the recyclers would be highly contaminated. For instance, this will lead to reduced transparency of clear recycled PET and as much as 5% titanium dioxide could be found in colored recycled PET.

PRE also stated the material may have serious impact in terms of its suitability for fiber and food contact applications. As such, both ways, it will lead to drop in the use of recycled PET in the market.