rPET flakes for bottle-to-bottle (B2B) Application

No washing line alone can produce rPET flakes classified as “food grade”, because of the impossibility of achieving internal decontamination. To reach the quality necessary for Bottle-to-Bottle production, the presence of downstream technologies, particularly SSP treatement and extrusion, will always be necessary.

Being the pioneer of the PET recycling market (its own first PET recycling washing plant was installed in 1986), SOREMA can rely on the largest worldwide market share in PET and HDPE bottles recycling systems.

During all these years of experience, SOREMA developed a precise and recognized know-how in high quality rPET flakes. Having developed a worldwide cooperation in Bottle-to-Bottle recycling with the main beverage brands, SOREMA perfectly knows and can easily meet the strict specifications required from beverage bottles from rPET flakes.

Bottle-to-Bottle recycling is a very complex process, involving several different aspects. For this reason, SOREMA’s policy has been to concentrate on the first, very delicate, portion of the PET B2B recycling process, the initial sorting and the washing process.

Bottles arriving to the recycling line are first metered into a bale breaker. They are then washed with a caustic solution, the discharge of the flake-washing module, which would otherwise be discarded. The main contaminants are removed here, reducing machine wear in the following steps.

After the pre-washing, manual and automatic sorting takes places. A wet granulator is then adopted to ground the bottles to flakes. Flakes are separated from water and pulp through treatment in a centrifuge and then sent to a final separation. After drying, an elutriator is used to remove fine particles.

Since 1986, SOREMA has been realizing hundreds of PET recycling lines worldwide, specifically designed for the Bottle-to-Bottle process, with the co-operation of different partners for the final extrusion and SSP treatment.

SOREMA can offer state-of-the-art and customized solutions with a wide varitety of production capacities (from 500 to 9.000 kg/h output) to any of its customers wishing to invest in Bottle-to-Bottle PET recycling.

PET is currently the most widely used packaging material, accounting for 6.4% of all containers and 14% percent of plastic packaging. It is adopted in particular for the production of bottles for water, soft dringk, alcoholic bevrages, oils, and detergents. Actually, with regards to soft drinks, 43% of containers are made of PET, which represents the most extensively used material. Every year 50 billion plastic bottles are used for water only. The widespread use of PET bottles started in the 1970s and is due to material characteristics such as good chemical and mechanical resistance, transparency, and low weight.

In 2011, about 1.5 million tonnes of PET, corresponding to slightly over 50% of all PET bottles in the market, were collected for recycling in Europe.

Up to 100% of a bottle can be made from recycled PET, commonly indicated as rPET; however, this material tends to absorb molecules of the food, beverage, or other substance, initially contained. These residues must be removed during the recycling process in order to make the obtained rPET adequate for the production of new bottles intended to contain edible goods. Indications on the type and amount of compounds admissible in rPET are given by government regulations.

The first PET bottle produced with recycled PET was introduced in the market by Coca-Cola in 1991 and contained 25% of recycled PET. The bottle was first introduced in the state of North Carolina (USA) and by the end of the following year the use of bottles containing recycled PET had extended to 14 states and had seen the involvement of other manufacturers, including Pepsi.