Glass-coated PET bottles can help address recycling challenge, says KHS

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

KHS launches recyclable glass-coated PET bottles

Related tags Packaging Plastic Recycling

KHS expects to see increased uptake of its FreshSafePET technology as German and European packaging and recycling laws evolve. The PET bottle is lined with glass: and is easier to recycle compared to commonly used composite materials.

In January 2019 a new German Packaging Law will come into effect, setting down binding rules to increase recycling quotas. It will set higher fees for packaging that is difficult to recycle. In the long term, a Europe-wide ban on hard-to-recycle plastics could even come to effect, with the European Strategy for Plastics envisioning all plastics being recycled by 2030.

While PET with composite materials is usually difficult to recycle, KHS’s FreshSafe PET technology is fully recyclable. The packaging was on show at Brau Beviale in Germany last week. 

Ease of recycling

The new German Packaging Law will prescribe increased recycling quotas for all types of packaging, including plastics. At the moment 36% of plastic in the country is recycled: that is to increase to 63% in 2022.

The new law will effectively make it cheaper to recycle easily and effectively recyclable materials; and charge more to recycle packaging which is difficult to reuse. The easier a packaging type is to segregate and recycle, the lower the fees for beverage producers and retailers. 

This has an effect on beverage manufacturers whose packaging materials cannot be easily recycled. Juice and nectar producers, in particular, often do not use pure PET bottles: turning to multilayer, blended or scavenger materials to protect sensitive beverages from external pressures such as oxygen.

Herbert Snell, managing director of the MultiPet GmbH recycling company, said: “One quarter of the clear rPET flakes from yellow recycling sacks contain scavengers which impair the quality with their yellowish color, for example.

“Mixing PET bottles like these with other beverage bottles made of PET makes it more much more difficult to use these rPET flakes for bottle-to-bottle recycling.”

Increased shelf life

KHS’ FreshSafe PET technology applies an ultra-thin glass coating to the inside of the PET bottle. The resulting bottle is fully recyclable as the coating can easily be washed off during the recycling process, leaving pure, fully segregated PET.

While beverage producers incur additional costs when they invest in barrier technology, KHS says the overall operating costs are reduced and so the procurement pays off relatively quickly.

In addition, it says the FreshSafe PET bottle has improved barrier qualities and thus ensures longer shelf life.

And because they are fully recyclable, from January the bottles will prove to be more favourable when it comes to the calculation of recycling fees in Germany.

Philipp Langhammer, product manager for barrier technology at KHS Corpoplast, said: “Measured against the huge benefit of additional product protection and longer product shelf lives in particular, the costs per bottle are actually lower.”

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