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Plastic manufacturers are making responsible strides to produce packaging that delivers on all counts.
Global plastic packaging manufacturer RETAL invests in state-of-the-art equipment that can process 100 per cent rPET flakes and granules to ensure its production processes are as effective and efficient as possible, with lower material and energy requirements, and reduced carbon emissions.
RETAL is actively reducing its carbon footprint through its energy efficiency programme. More than 20 per cent of its total electricity consumption is renewable, and RETAL has installed the largest solar panel plant in the Baltic states at its factory in Lentvaris, Lithuania.
Sophisticated 3D software allows RETAL’s design team to work closely with customers. Its R&D team is working with multinational brand owners to create lighter preforms with tethered closures (closures that remain attached to the bottle after opening). Such closures will not be lost among other waste as they are attached to the bottle, making it easier to collect, sort and recycle. RETAL has created its own tethered closure solution that will soon be available on the market.
Modern software also enables the company to develop better and more efficient bottle shapes. Complex geometric designs make RETAL bottles both strong and light, helping to reduce the consumption of raw materials in production.
RETAL is also an active member of the following organisations:
Additionally, NEO Group, part of RETAL Industries Ltd, is working on an alternative chemical recycling process. Since 2015, the company has been actively participating to the DEMETO project, part of the European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, which aims to develop a process to reduce used PET to its original constituents, which can be then reused in the production of virgin PET resin.
In parallel, NEO Group has developed a process to include rPET directly into the production process of virgin PET. The resulting PET resin is easier to process by converters saving on energy and reduce rPET logistic again mitigating air pollution and climate change. NEO first production line will be operative in 2020 and will allow to include 15% rPET to the conventional process.
In parallel, NEO Group has developed a process that enables rPET to be used directly in the production of virgin PET. The resulting PET resin is easier to process by converters, reducing energy use and air pollution. NEO’s first production line will be up and running in 2020, and will use 15 per cent of rPET in an otherwise conventional production process to begin with.
RETAL is also working upstream, exploring opportunities to use bio-based plastics and bio-material additives, as well as mechanical recycling.
We need to be able to question the advantages and disadvantages of different packaging materials and be more honest about the environmental impact they have. The precise coordination of effort, investment and technology will let us make changes for the better, and bring about a world where used packaging does not pollute the environment, but is given a second – or a third, fourth or fifth – life in the form of high-quality, convenient packaging.