It is fully sustainable and recyclable. In fact, it is made from materials that have been recycled, mainly PET food packaging, and that have been thrown into their corresponding container. We are talking about rPET (technically called polyethylene terephthalate), a thermoformable material that, thanks to its usefulness and its very low impact on the carbon footprint, is playing an increasingly important role in global circular economy strategies.
The uses of rPET cover a wide and growing range of industries. Thanks to its characteristics, it is resistant to heat but at the same time protects against the cold. It is also light and strong. For this reason, it is used in a multitude of food packaging. These qualities are combined with the fact that, as it is transparent, it allows products (such as meat trays, fresh food or bakery items) to be displayed on supermarket shelves so that they can be seen directly by consumers. It is also ideal for preserving and marketing beverages.
In the textile sector, sports brands are increasingly opting for clothing made from rPET due to its durability, impermeability, and flexibility. From an environmental point of view, during the manufacturing process of textile garments with rPET, 75% less CO2 emissions are produced than with virgin polyester. An added value that matches the hallmarks of many fashion brands.
Other segments that have extended the use of rPET are, for example, the automotive industry, the detergent manufacturing industry, or the production of advertising items such as bags, bottles or umbrellas.
In this respect, REPETCO offers a proprietary, patented system, which is environmentally friendly, through food multilayer PET/PE packaging of post-consumer origin. By means of a unique process, rPET pellets and rPE are generated that can be reused in the food industry with multilayer PET/PE trays and sheet packaging; in bottles for soft drinks or detergents; and in fibers for the textile and automotive industry.
Some rPET benefits
These are some of the main advantages of using rPET:
- Significantly reduces the use of fossil fuels, generates less carbon footprint in its manufacture than other materials and is fully recyclable.
- It is strong, flexible and, above all, lightweight. This last characteristic is important for its transportation, as it has a lower environmental impact in its logistics than other materials.
- It has a higher chemical and thermal resistance.
- Allows the consumer to see what is inside as it is transparent.
- It has a high resistance to abrasion.
- It has good resistance to breakage.
- It is easy to clean.
- Its production cost is significantly lower than that of other materials, which implies lower water and energy consumption.
A global social challenge
There is a growing awareness among people and companies of the importance of recycling plastic to prevent it from having a single use and thus reduce its negative impact on the environment. However, efforts will continue to be required from the government and other areas of the public sphere to increase the levels of recycling of this material.
The European Union (EU) strategy on circular economy is set to increasingly favor the use of recycled plastics and, with it, the growth in the use of rPET. But the challenge is still very significant. Every year, more than 350 million tons of plastic are generated around the world, negatively affecting ecosystems.
It is everyone’s task to contribute to a more sustainable and cleaner world. Aware of this, the EU’s objectives in this regard are ambitious and immediate, with a key date: by 2030, all plastic packaging placed on the market will have to be recyclable or reusable. Achieving this is possible, but it requires a global will to succeed.
Other articles of interest: What are the economic benefits of PET plastic recycling?