If something can be simplified, that’s the route I’d wish to take.
My simple view of PET has been this. Oil is a finite and brilliant but polluting resource. PET is a fantastic product from oil and 100% recyclable. So the solution is to maximise recycling and the use of recycled material. Ideally to 100%. But that may be too simplistic.
We had a brief debate about this at our UK Soft Drinks Industry Conference last week.
Various companies have used 100% recycled PET for their products in the past few years. Among the pioneers were GlaxoSmithKline and Innocent in Britain as well as Naya in Canada.
In the past few days, I’ve come across Britain’s Silver Spring using 55% rPET for Perfectly Clear sparkling flavoured water and Belgium’s Spadel opting for 50% rPET in its relaunched Spa Reine.
25% rPET is becoming the new aspirational standard for many companies and 10% rPET the gesture of others who may be having difficulties obtaining sufficient supplies.
What then is the ideal? At our conference, 25% was being held out to be a sustainable optimum. It was suggested that 100% rPET can only be used, in bottles at least, a few times before it becomes too brittle.
I’m an economist, not a technical person. I’d genuinely welcome other views.