What’s the rPET and its benefits

Let's start by explaining what PET is.
PET stands for polyethylene terephthalate, which is the chemical name of polyester. It offers many advantages, the most important is its total recyclability. By crushing collected empty bottles and turning them into granules through a recycling process, new preforms can be created. This recycled plastic preforms are then blown into new bottles: rPET bottles. Very durable, versatile, and inexpensive compared to other options. Moreover, unlike many other plastics, PET can be recycled and reused. In 2001, only 3% of PET bottles were recycled in the UK. By 2014, that number had increased to 60%.

The process of fabrication
PET comes from oil. Extracting crude oil from the ground is extremely harmful to the environment. The actual scientific process is to take an alcohol called ethylene glycol and mix it with terephthalic acid to make molten PET. When this happens, the two products combine in a process called esterification to create a new polymer called PET.

Who is using it?
The PET bottle industry accounts for 30% of all PET produced worldwide. Many of the clothes in your closet may be made from PET, known in the industry as polyester. From designer brands to bedding and sporting goods, the entire textile industry relies on polyester as the world's most popular synthetic fiber. Not only is polyester much easier to manufacture, but unlike cotton, it is not prone to weather-related price increases. It's likely that what you're wearing contains polyester.

The concerns of PET.
As we have seen before, the PET material is made of durable materials, which causes a problem in its decomposition. Indeed, it will take 700 years for it to decompose, which is an ecological problem and even more so under the current circumstances.

PET is a so-called recyclable plastic, and used PET containers can be washed, melted, and returned to plasma, from which new items can be made. However, clean, high-quality plastics are difficult to collect, suggesting that very few PET containers can be recycled as food containers. By the way, less than half of the PET bottles purchased every year end up at the recycling center. Only 7% are recycled into usable bottles.
These plastics can find new purposes, and this is where recycled polyester fabrics or rPET come in.

The rPET solution
Recycled PET or rPET is made by recycling plastic bottles, turning them into threads and then turning them into cloth. Also known as recycled polyester. In this system, the problem of flatulence pollution finds consensus.

From PET bottles to used clothing: how does it work?
It's hard to imagine plastic being turned into clothing. However, thanks to the mechanical process, 42 bottles can produce 1 kg of rPET.

- After consumption, the plastic provided by water bottles or other plastic packaging waste is collected and sorted. 

- The PET is then flaked and cleaned.

- The clean flakes are processed into pellets and obtain rPET at this stage.

- The pellets are melted into a paste and drawn into recycled polyester yarn.

The benefits of rPET
At least one recycle loop for non-biodegradable post-consumer products is provided. Without pet recycling, bottles would be buried or burned. It can be supplied to professional collection, recycling, and collection chains.
You can't completely ban bottles and packages that protect what we consume from our lives, but you can choose to make new products from them. 

If you need to use PET, this will reduce your dependence on oil. The resource requirements for producing rPET are lower than virgin PET (oil, water, production energy, CO2 emissions).

Consumers can develop social thinking by choosing to consume products containing recycled plastics instead of virgin plastics.

rPET is very resistant, both to high temperatures and to wear. It is flexible and waterproof. It helps to reduce the volume of plastic packaging.

Greenpeace and other organizations are fighting for the recycling of PET to be subsidized.

Is there a difference between recycled and virgin polyester?
No, there is no difference between traditional and recycled polyester. During the recycling process, the fiber is reconstituted at the molecular level, making recycled polyester as strong, durable and with the same properties as conventional polyester. The only difference is in their environmental impact. rPET has a much lower environmental impact.

Recycled polyester suppliers in Europe
Many companies have realized that environmental impact has a significant impact on production. Not only because of the advantages granted but also because customers are becoming more and more concerned about the environment and what they buy.

Here are some European companies that have undertaken the rPET:

Sabert

Expert in food packaging since 1990, Sabert Europe has grown and evolved to become one of the leaders in eco-friendly food packaging and tableware in Europe. 100% of Sabert’s internal waste is reused, which totally prevents plastic waste. Sabert also encourages all the plastic users to recycle and to help to close the loop toward a circular economy.

Recycling Fibers

REcycling fibers is a company dedicated to the collection of post-industrial  textile articles  - for recycling, destined to different industrial applications.

Clean Tech

Clean Tech, part of Plastipak, is one of Europe’s leading rPET pellet and flake manufacturers.

Sofisil

High-quality polyester fibre product based on PET bottles collected from ocean shores in Third World countries.


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About the Author

Fanny L'huillier

Student in international trade at Lycée Frédéric Chopin (Nancy, France).





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