Leading companies operating across the polyester packaging value chain – including businesses involved in the manufacture, use, collection and recycling of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic packaging – today announced they have formed a new consortium that aims to help to address the problem of plastic waste by accelerating the commercialisation of BP Infinia recycling technology.
BP Infinia is designed to turn opaque and difficult-to-recycle (known as ODR) PET plastic waste into recycled feedstocks that can be used to make new high-quality PET plastic packaging.
Rita Griffin, BP Chief Operating Officer, Petrochemicals: “This is an exciting step towards a circular economy for the polyester industry. BP is experienced in developing and scaling up technology and we’ll do this again with our innovative BP Infinia process. But we know we cannot create circularity on our own. That’s why we are thrilled to be working together with industry leaders to develop and prove a practical business model that can hopefully contribute to making all types of polyester waste infinitely recyclable.”
The consortium intends to combine the capabilities and experience of its members – packaging specialist ALPLA; food, drink and consumer goods producers Britvic, Danone and Unilever; energy and petrochemicals producer BP; recycling specialist REMONDIS – to develop a new approach to dealing with PET plastic waste.
PET is a plastic widely used for rigid food packaging and drinks, personal care and homecare bottles. It is a lightweight, durable and versatile material and one of the most collected and recycled types of plastic. ODR plastics are usually disposed of directly after use to landfills or incinerators due to lack of separate collection.
“In order to implement material circularity in PET packaging, we need new technologies for packaging that can’t yet be mechanically processed. We want this material resource to return into the circular economy; chemical recycling complements mechanical recycling and provides further possibilities to sustainable resource management" explained Ralf Mandelatz, Managing Director of REMONDIS Recycling GmbH & Co. KG. "REMONDIS intends to contribute its specialist experience in the field of sorting and PET processing to the other consortium partners leading this European project.”
The consortium members believe by joining forces they can speed up the commercialisation of the technology, infrastructure and demand needed to process billions of opaque and difficult-to-recycle PET packaging that are currently disposed of each year. It is the intention that each member of the consortium will contribute resources and distinctive capabilities and experience in areas such as waste management and recycling, technology development, intermediate processing and product design to develop a business model that takes into consideration the infrastructure, supply chain and demand requirements of all parties that will be involved in creating a circular economy for polyester and PET plastic.
In October 2019, BP announced plans to construct a $25 million pilot plant in the US to prove the technology on a continuous basis before progressing to full-scale commercialisation.