What is RPET ?
You may be more familiar with the abbreviation PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) a common plastic used in many circumstances today such as bottles for tablets and supplements. With the current drive towards improving sustainability, RPET represents PET that is manufactured using some or all recycled content rather than all new material.
Post-consumer resin (PCR) is the recycled plastic to be reused in manufacturing new products; a material option that many manufacturers are using to help meet their sustainability goals. Recycling programs hope to reduce the quantity of landfill and limit negative impact of plastic packaging on the environment.
Recycled materials from existing PET bottles are taken to create PCR, RPET and other plastics. It is estimated that 7.7 billion plastic water bottles are used in the UK, and 38 billion bottles of water are thrown away every year across the United States, this enhances the impetus for increasing the use of PCR materials in manufacture of new products.
How effective is PCR in new products?
In some cases, plastics cannot be recycled into new products without first adding new raw materials because the plastics may not be strong enough to make the new container. But there are newer, more innovative ways to create new, clear-looking plastic bottles without using virgin materials.
Several bottle manufacturers are able to incorporate recycled PET and HDPE plastics that are available through recycling programs in the form of PCR. Plastics are cleaned and turned into pellets before being reprocessed into food-safe, FDA-approved plastic bottles.
Including PCR in a product can result in the finished product containing specs or flecks, or the plastic being weaker than the original plastic produced. Weak plastics can be downcycled into other forms of plastic packaging, still saving the environment from harmful plastic refuse.
In many cases manufacturers will include a percentage of PCR in the plastic to produce an effective product whilst still reducing the quantity of virgin material. In this way, brands can demonstrate responsibility for their actions and a step in the right direction regards caring for the environment.
What are cost implications of PCR?
PCR plastic is made from plastic we already have, therefore it does not require the raw fossil fuels usually required in plastic manufacture and may be viewed as more environmentally friendly. By using ‘waste plastic’ to create PCR, manufacturers gain an affordable option for their packaging.
Reprocessing existing plastics can involve using less energy and fossil fuels. Overall, the environment is saved from excess pollution and wasted resources while manufacturers are still able to produce a viable, durable new plastic bottle.
PCR is also a readily available material, with plenty of opportunities to improve community recycling programs while providing a steady supply of recycled products.
Environmentally-aware consumers have been found to be prepared to pay more for products packaged in PCR packaging, making your product more valuable and potentially more profitable.
Who is Using PCR Plastics?
The Association of Plastic Recyclers has been working diligently to increase demand for PCR plastics across North America. Their initiatives encourage product manufacturers to use more PCR in their bottling and packaging supplies, and support the sustainability goals of many countries globally to reduce harmful impact to our planet.
These companies are leading the way towards increased demand for PCR and helping to ensure future use of recycled materials in several different products.
To learn more about PCR use and availability, speak with a Lifestyle packaging specialist to discuss cost-effective options for more sustainable packaging. Our experienced team is dedicated to helping you find the most effective packaging solutions for delivering your product. They can also provide you with additional information on sustainable, responsible packaging alternatives.