Woolies-PolyPET ‘green’ juice bottle a winner

PET bottle manufacturer, Polypet, has been awarded “Best Recycled Product of the Year” for the 1,5-litre bottle it produces for Woolworths’ fruit juices. The award was sponsored by PACSA (Packaging Council of South Africa) in the Best Recycled Product competition hosted by the South African Plastics Recycling Organisation (SAPRO) and Plastics SA.

PolyPET, a division of Polyoak Packaging, uses recycled materials for the bottle performs from Extrupet, which produces recycled PET for use in food contact applications.

“Extrupet received international accreditation from the Bureau Veritas Certification for its recycling process for PET flakes for use in food packaging, making the recycler the first in the world to achieve such accreditation,” says SAPRO chairperson Douglas Greig.

SAPRO cited the juice bottle as representing the commitment of a complete value chain to make a difference: Woolworths’ to the environment, Extrupet’s to world-class recyclate, Polypet’s to the manufacture of aesthetically-appealing packaging that meets consumers’ expectations, and PET recycling company Petco’s to extended producer responsibility.

“This bottle is an excellent example of how major retailers can influence an industry when they make a commitment towards environmental responsibility and sustainability”, adds Cheri Scholtz, chairperson of Plastics SA’s Sustainability Council and CEO of Petco. “In 2010 alone, 99 400 tons of PET was used in beverage bottles.

“Through collective effort and a united vision of reducing our impact on the environment, we were able to achieve the most sustainable use for resources, namely the ability to ‘close the loop’ – recycling a bottle back into a bottle – and creating a vital new end-use market for the three million PET bottles currently being recycled daily in South Africa”, Scholtz says.

“By using rPET in the Woolworth’s 1.5 litre juice bottle, it paves the way for other brand owners and converters to utilise the growing percentage of recycled post-consumer PET bottles available in our country instead of relying on virgin PET”, she adds.

Concludes Greig: “Woolworths embarked a few years ago on their Good Business Journey, and making use of recycled plastic in their food packaging is a major vote of confidence in the safety and quality of products manufactured in the South African recycling industry. In our opinion, this year’s winner represents a significant step in the right direction with regards to the reduction of packaging waste material and providing additional economic benefits to society and the economy as a whole.”

Categories in the competition included the 100% post-consumer recyclate category, the percentage recyclate mixed with virgin materials category, the mixed recycled materials category, as well as special merit awards.

Products were judged by a panel of plastics experts, taking into account the life expectancy of the product, sustainability and long-term demand and market acceptance, tonnage diverted from landfills and converted into a product, replacement of alternative materials, technical achievements in manufacturing to overcome recycled material challenges and, lastly, measures taken to ensure product consistence and customer satisfaction despite recycled material content.