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PET's Alright - Recyclable Question Answered

Plastipak recycles around 20 tonnes of post-consumer PET bottles per day in Lincolnshire.
15 August 2019 | Updated 16 August 2019

In a recent article, ThisWeekinFM applauded ISS for selling bottles and carton of water for charity but questioned whether those receptacles could actually be recycled.

ISS and the One Foundation were unable to respond but one of the UK's largest bottle manufacturers and recyclers did.  A response came from Kinza Sutton, Head of Public Affairs & Sustainability, Europe of Plastipak.


Dear Brian,

I read your article about One Love water (One Love - But One Question I'd Really Love To Ask)

and noted your question in bold 'ISS has been asked what UK recycling plants can handle the recyclable containers'.

I work for Plastipak and Clean Tech. Plastipak is the largest producer of PET bottles in the UK – and our wholly owned business Clean Tech – is the largest reprocessor of PET bottles in the UK.

Clean Tech recycles around half of the bottles collected and reprocess them to the level where we can put the recycled material back in to new bottles - and that is exactly what we do.

We recycle around 20 tonnes of post-consumer PET bottles per day in Hemswell, Lincolnshire and ship the recycled material back to our manufacturing plant in Wrexham, north Wales for direct inclusion in our new bottles.

Brands that use our recycled material include Coca-Cola, Harrogate Spring Water, Montgomery Water, Radnor, Princes, Highland Spring amongst others.

Other PET recyclers who reprocess in the UK are Viridor, Roydens, Biffa and Suez. The majority of PET bottles are recycled in the UK, despite what media reports suggest.


You can see a summary of the PET recycling process below.




P.S. - Cartons

the use of recycled PET also significantly reduces the carbon footprint of the bottle. PET bottles can be recycled time and time again.

Whilst cartons are technically recycled, only the pulp is recovered and reused – effectively it is down-cycled (cartons cannot contain recycled content) in to gravy granule containers – which cannot then be recycled. As cartons are made up of board, plastics, aluminium foil and adhesives, the recycling process is very intensive.  It’s a common misconception that cartons are better for the environment than PET - that's probably down to good (or bad depending on your view) marketing.



Excel Networking Goes #plasticfree

Excel Networking Solutions, the infrastructure provider that offers copper and optical fibre, pre-terminated solutions, racks, voice, PDUs  and a full range of accessories, is making changes to the packaging of their copper and fibre optic components that is forecast to save over 40 tonnes (40,000kg) of single-use plastic each year.

Based upon Excel’s 2018 performance, they estimate that at least 16 million single-use plastic bags will be removed from the supply chain each year.

Jason Rudge, Commercial Procurement Director at Excel Networking said: "As a business we are acutely aware of the damage that plastic has on the environment and we are determined to lead the way in our industry to remove as much single-use plastic from the supply chain.

”It hasn’t been an easy change but one that we’ve persevered with to develop alternative ‘plastic free’ packaging for much of our copper and fibre product lines, as well as reducing cardboard box sizes where we can. The plastic free packaging will start shipping out in August 2019 and will become the standard as stocks of the current packaging designs are depleted.”

The changes mean that keystone jacks will no longer be supplied in individual single-use plastic bags as standard. Instead, they will be sold in packs of 24, presented in a 100% recyclable natural cardboard box that features no plastic at all. Similarly, rather than individual patch leads being supplied in a single-use plastic packet, they will be secured and labelled with a natural and recyclable paper-based wrapping.

Picture: Plastipak recycles around 20 tonnes of post-consumer PET bottles per day in Lincolnshire.


Article written by Brian Shillibeer | Published 15 August 2019


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