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Green Recovery Statement

Ruim 200 bedrijven hebben het Green Recovery Statement getekend, en Dutch PET Recycling is daar één van. Gezamenlijk pleiten we er voor om duurzaamheid als hoeksteen te nemen voor de corona-herstelplannen. 

Goed om te zien dat meer bedrijven duurzamer willen gaan ondernemen en pleiten voor een groen en sociaal herstel. Dit doen wij, en alle partners uit het netwerk van MVO Nederland natuurlijk al jaren. En dat is nodig, want slechts 12,1 procent van de economie is nu duurzaam. Samen bereiken we meer! 

Nieuwe Economie Index

In English:

More than 200 companies have signed the Green Recovery Statement, and Dutch PET Recycling is one of them. Together we argue in favor of taking sustainability as the cornerstone of the corona recovery plans.

It is good to see that more companies want to do business in a more sustainable way and that they advocate a green and social recovery. We, and all partners from the MVO Nederland network, have been doing this for years. And that is necessary, because only 12.1 percent of the economy is now sustainable. Together we achieve more!

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Spain’s proposed plastics tax receives lukewarm reception

Does the competition become more equal for rPET vs virgin? Or will the total use of plastic be reduced in favor of alternative (packaging) material?

An interesting article about virgin plastic tax, shared by DutchPETRecycling.

By Matt Tudball (ICIS), Additional reporting by Caroline Murray

Spain’s proposed tax on virgin plastics, announced recently as part of the government’s circular economy strategy, has received a mixed reaction from the European polymers markets. A series of measures that make up the strategy is expected to include a €0.45/kg tax on non-reusable plastic packaging following similar measures adopted elsewhere in Europe including the UK and Italy.

Sources in the market had a lukewarm outlook on the benefit of the tax – the first to be announced by an EU member state since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak – with several comparing it to the €450/ton Italian virgin plastics tax – which has been postponed until 2021 in light of the pandemic.

“We used plastic products during the covid-19 emergency and now they are thinking of a tax on plastics from January 2021. We are at the level Italy was a year ago,” a Spanish polymers trader said.

“It’s the same discussion Italy had. They asked for €1/kg then reduced the figure after a huge fight between the plastics sector and the government… and now we will have to go through the same fight. Nobody learns from others,” the trader added.

Others were less pessimistic. “This is a tax paid by everybody – everyone is in the same conditions to compete,” one polyethylene terephthalate (PET) producer said.

“The second point is how strong PET material is versus the other [polymers]… I don’t believe that people will go to the supermarket to buy a glass bottle of water. At the end of the day, we will all pay more and the government will get more money. If we all compete on the same terms, it’s more than welcome,” the producer added.

It currently is unclear whether products with a certain percentage of recycled content will be exempt, but this looks likely if Spain follow the same principles as the UK and Italy. In terms of the impact on the recycled market, a buyer of recycled PET (R-PET) believes it may increase competition for post-consumer bottles, the feedstock for the R-PET market.

“Bottles will be scarce, that is for sure. Either collection increases exponentially or we will all be running after the same feedstock material,” the buyer said.

The Italian tax on virgin plastics with less than 30% recycled material was meant to incentivize bottle producers and others to increase the amount of recycled plastic in their product. But as with the UK tax, there are concerns about the size of the tax and whether it will be enough to encourage converters to move away from virgin given current low PET prices.

Using the example of the UK tax, a UK-based PET buyer said, “£200/ton is not enough. If the premium to use recycled content is £600-700, it won’t make people use recycled material – unless people do it for marketing purposes.”

On the other hand, recyclers are worried that the tax will deter consumers from buying plastic products altogether – and more to goods packaged in paper, glass or cardboard.

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A new PET recycling stream…

Will we have a new recycled PET stream? Besides Clear, Light Blue and Green also Opaque might become interesting. Dutch PET Recycling shares this article of PETplanet.

Bottle-to-bottle recycling of light barrier white opaque PET

Bottles in opaque PET are increasingly replacing other material grades, especially in markets such as dairy and other sectors where demand is increasing. Thus far, a main concern was that the white opaque PET would lose one of the most important characteristics of PET, recyclability, but Spanish company Novapet is demonstrating that white opaque monolayer bottles can be separated and recycled into new bottles again.

In order to demonstrate the feasibility and viability of the monolayer white PET recycling, Novapet has created, for the first time, a dedicated recycling stream of this material in a commercial recycling facility, sorting and recycling white opaque PET bottles into white flakes from standard bales collected in Spain. The recycling process is based on IR/VIS sorters, which are available in the majority of plants. It will require a detailed market study to assess the amount of input material and to adapt the configuration of the sorting system.

The white flakes can be decontaminated according EFSA requirements and used again as raw material for the production of a recycled opacifier masterbatch or directly to rPET mono-layer bottles. Various formulas would have to be applied depending on final use and light barrier requirements, to maintain the same machine throughput and without impacting properties, functionality and colour.

Novapet’s specialist team have technically validated that it is possible to reprocess the white flakes, thus obtaining new white opaque resin and masterbatch formulations. All these formulations have been characterised along the entire process, controlling the key variables, in order to assure good processability and the decontamination conditions in the SSP reactor. Thus the process demonstrates that the recycling process to produce white recycled PET is able to be used for manufacturing containers in the food industry.

The new family of recycled products, rDCU and rDairy, will be commercially available by the end of 2020.

The complete article can be read in PETplanet Insider 6 / 2020

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Dutch PET Recycling has signed the PACT!

May 1st 2020 Signatory European Plastics Pact

Dutch PET Recycling is proud to announce that they have signed the European Plastics Pact. We fully endorse the goals and will use our knowledge to contribute in reaching them.

Infographic European Plastics Pact

More information about the European Plastics Pact you can find in this article.

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Market Development PET materials PET production

Deposit on plastic bottles excellent news for the environment

We are happy to share an article about new deposit measures by Dutch government regarding PET bottles. The original article was written by Tom Zoete, 24 april 2020, of Recycling Netwerk.

In the Netherlands, a deposit return system for small plastic bottles will come into effect on the 1st of July 2021, the Dutch State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management, Stientje van Veldhoven, announced today in a letter to the Parliament.

This entails a huge expansion of the current deposit return system in the Netherlands. “After decades of resistance by industry, this government’s decision is excellent news in the fight against plastic pollution”, director Rob Buurman of environmental NGO Recycling Netwerk Benelux reacts.

Currently, only plastic bottles larger than 1 liter have a deposit in the Netherlands. On the 1st of July 2021, small bottles under 1 liter will come with a deposit amount of minimum 0.15 euro. Each year, 1 billion small plastic bottles are sold in the Netherlands. Between 50 and 100 million of them end up in litter. The Dutch authorities are also preparing legislation for deposits on beverage cans.

In 2017, Recycling Netwerk Benelux co- founded the “Statiegeldalliantie” (Deposit Return System Alliance) in order to give a voice to Dutch and Belgian proponents of a deposit return system (DRS) on all plastic bottles and cans. The alliance grew very rapidly and today counts 1055 Dutch and Belgian consumer organisations, farmer organisations, municipalities, and a wide variety of organisations and companies.

In the process, the Dutch authorities commissioned a study on the economic and environmental benefits of DRS. The results were very convincing. In every scenario the estimated net benefits for businesses (31 – 121 million euro) outweigh the costs (10 – 110 million euro). They would also save between 5.5 and 8 million euro on alternative collection systems. And additionally, municipalities could save between 83 and 90 million euro on the costs of cleaning up plastic bottles and cans and emptying public garbage bins. DRS is expected to reduce the amount of these beverage containers in the environment with 70-90% and significantly increase recycling rates of plastic bottles and cans.

Over the years, Dutch supermarkets and beverage producers have made promises over and over again to reduce plastic bottles and cans in litter and have failed to do so every time. The government gave industry, which was still heavily lobbying against DRS, one last chance to reduce the number of plastic bottles in the environment with at least 70% between 2017 and 2019. In these two years, however, the amount of plastic bottles in litter actually increased with 7% and the cans increased with 16%, according to the official monitoring results.

Importantly, the European Directive on Single-Use Plastics demands that Member States achieve a 90% separate collection of plastic bottles by the end of the decade. The Netherlands has advanced its national deadline and is determined to reach this 90% separate collection target already in 2022 by means of DRS.

“By implementing a deposit on small plastic bottles, the Netherlands takes a big step. The Dutch government shows that this is no time to delay or abandon our environmental ambitions. Even in difficult times it’s possible to make good policy decisions that will benefit the economy, society and the environment, rather than bowing to industry attempts to use the pandemic as an excuse for backsliding on popular initiatives”, director Rob Buurman of Recycling Netwerk Benelux says.

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How Corona affects our business pt. 2

By Roel Wollaert; Dutch PET Recycling _________ Arnhem, 21 April 2020

Some weeks ago, we started with an article about our business during the Corona or COVID-19 crisis. In this article we will give an update on how we are dealing with the circumstances and what we see happening around us.

In our own working process, nothing has changed drastically. We are used to work in a global network where we have contact with our suppliers and customers at a distance. However, not all parties concerned have the availability of all tools. That’s why, sometimes, we have to be patient and understanding. Especially in countries where a lockdown forces you to stay at home and one is not able to contact the bank for a transaction or check upon the Chamber of commerce for a Certificate of Origin.

Using disposable gloves, syringes, insulin pens, masks, catheters etcetera reduces the risks of infections. But it also makes the work process easier and faster because less material has to be sterilized.

In non-medical industries, plastic use is also increasing. Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts forbid reusable cups; the food industry is using more plastic to extend the shelf life and now uses the argument that plastic is more hygienic and easier to use. Restaurants try to survive by offering take away food in…(rPET-made) plastic boxes. Plastic protection screens are used for cashiers in supermarkets. Everywhere around you, more plastic is used due to COVID-19!

One may be worried about the limited volumes entering collection systems. Consumers (recycling) behavior is changing. People are buying bottles, but they don’t bring them back, they store it. Collectors in Asian and African countries are facing restrictions to do their job. Many will be looking at how used PET bottles are returned to the recycling stream during the outbreak. The availability of rPET might become scarce.

Demand for virgin PET has already increased significantly in March as Europeans began to buy food and other necessities in higher volumes. Plans of using more recycled plastic and reduce plastic waste, sometimes, seem to be no longer a top priority.

Another concern is the impact on logistics. Several countries have closed their borders and restricted the movement of goods and people, getting material to and from harbors and recycling units. Until now we only had some minor problems but recently most transport was running smoothly again.

Social distancing will become a way of life the coming months and maybe years. What this will do to our business is not easy to predict. For the time being, the majority of the recycling industry continues to operate without too much problems. Sudden local problems we will be able to handle, as our network is diversified. We will see what the future will bring us.

For now: Stay safe, healthy, and take care of the environment!

On behalf of all employees and agents at Dutch PET Recycling.

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New technology to depolymerise PET waste

CARBIOS announces the publication of an article on its enzymatic recycling technology in the prestigious scientific journal ”Nature”. This publication outlines Company’s proprietary process for converting plastic waste into new bottles – a breakthrough towards a circular economy.

www.dutchpetrecycling.com thinks this is relevant content to share within the recycling industry. To go directly to the article on Nature.com, press the link here.

April 14, 2020 | Recycling technology | CARBIOS | Paris | France

CARBIOS, a company pioneering new bio-industrial solutions to reinvent the lifecycle of plastic and textile polymers, announces the publication of an article in the prestigious scientific journal Nature, entitled “An engineered PET-depolymerase to break down and recycle plastic bottles”. The article is co-authored by scientists at Carbios and at the Company’s renowned academic partner, the Toulouse Biotechnology Institute.

The article describes the development of a novel enzyme, which can biologically depolymerize all polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic waste, followed by an extremely efficient recycling into new bottles. PET is the most common thermoplastic polymer and is used to manufacture bottles, polyester clothing fibers, food containers, and various thermoformed packaging and components. Carbios’ recycling process, the first of its kind, initiates a real transition to a circular economy and can better prevent plastic pollution from harming our oceans and planet. This innovative technology also paves the way for recycling PET fibers, another major challenge in guaranteeing a clean and protected environment for future generations.

Prof. Alain Marty, Carbios’ Chief Scientific Officer and co-author of the Nature article says: “I am very proud that Nature, one of the most highly respected scientific journals in the world, has validated the quality of the research led by Carbios and TBI laboratory scientists in developing a PET recycling enzyme and a revolutionary process. The results obtained confirm the industrial and commercial potential of the Company’s proprietary process, which will be tested in 2021 in our demonstration plant in the heart of the French Chemical Valley, near Lyon.”

Sophie Duquesne, INRAE Researcher: “For any researcher, seeing its work recognized by the prestigious journal Nature is a true achievement. I am very proud of the work accomplished by the researchers at TBI and Carbios, whose collaborative efforts have led to the development of a sustainable solution to the end of life of plastics.”

Dr. Saleh Jabarin, Distinguished Professor at The University of Toledo, Ohio and a member of Carbios’ Scientific Committee: “It’s a real breakthrough in the recycling and manufacturing of PET. Thanks to the innovative technology developed by Carbios, the PET industry will become truly circular, which is the goal for all players in this industry, especially brand-owners, PET producers and our civilization as a whole.”

Bertrand Piccard, Founder and President of the Solar Impulse Foundation: “I am very pleased that the scientific community recognizes one of the solutions labelled by the Solar Impulse Foundation as a financially profitable solution to protect the environment. The use of such technology is as logical as it is ecological!”

Nature, the highest Impact Factor scientific journal, recognizes the ground-breaking quality of the enzymatic engineering research being done by Carbios and TBI, that is paving the way to virtuous management of plastic waste. “Carbios is the first company to successfully combine the two scientific worlds of enzymology and plastics”, as Dr. Philippe Pouletty, CEO of Truffle Capital and Co-founder of Carbios, comments.

By leveraging many years of experience with a world-renowned team, Carbios and TBI are proud to have been able to increase the degradation yield of PET waste to 90% in 10 hours, a significant upswing from the initial degradation yield of 1% after several weeks. This paradigm shift in how effectively PET can be recycled, is leading toward a future circular economy technology applicable to all PET waste, which Carbios is proud to be spearheading.

To read the article on Nature.com, press the link here.

More information about: www.carbios.fr

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How Corona affects our business

By Roel Wollaert; Dutch PET Recycling _________ Arnhem, 27 March 2020

Normally our posts are about market developments and news within the rPET or circular plastic industry. But the news nowadays is of course about the Corona virus. It affects all of us around the world. In this article we will give a brief overview how it has affected us so far and we will share some thoughts with you.

At Dutch PET Recycling everybody is working at home. Communication still goes rapidly with video calls and mailing. What we do miss is the face-to-face contact with our suppliers and customers. We are convinced that seeing is believing. That’s why we normally visit our suppliers and their production facilities. The time saved by not travelling we now use online. For example to promote our new website: www.dutchpetrecycling.com

At the beginning of 2020 the prospects for the recycling industry were very promising. Awareness about waste reduction and reducing CO2 emission is constantly growing. People do sort their waste more and more. Collection of waste becomes more efficient. Governments are setting targets for recycling and industries are thinking more about sustainable product designs and commit themselves to use more recycled material.

That all is good news for our suppliers. Some of them are relatively small companies, where quite a lot of families depend on. As far as we know now, the virus hasn’t caught them. Besides the health threat of Corona also an economic crisis is coming. Collecting waste might become more difficult. That will differ per region and luckily for us and our customers we have a great network of suppliers.

Sea transport is already facing some problems. Some ports do have restrictions or are locked down for a period. But most of the ports are still operating and must do that to keep the necessary (food) chains working. Also here people are working out of their home (office). This sometimes causes  delay in communication. Also prices fluctuate a lot. Overall we are very satisfied with our freight forwarders who constantly think along with us to keep the service as high as possible.

The good news in relation to our customers is that most of them operate within the food chain. Plastic packaging for confectionery or fresh food. Being an essential producer means that you don’t need to go in a lock down.

We hope and wish that everyone stays healthy. The market developments before the Corona outbreak looked very promising and we are convinced that the world will conquer the virus. It will be a matter of time. The longer it takes the worser the economic crisis will be. But at the end we think the recycling industry has a promising future ahead and that we will quickly recover from this temporarily relapse.

Wishing you and all your beloved ones a healthy and economic fruitful future.

On behalf of all employees and agents at Dutch PET Recycling.

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Chemical-recycling is growing

Companies are developing several chemical recycling technologies as they face pressure from:

  • Consumers;
  • regulators and investors

to keep plastic out of oceans and landfills.

Shoppers are actually willing to pay more for sustainable products. Not only are consumers demanding natural and healthier products, they want them sold in packaging that can be recycled and reused. Companies that sell directly to consumers are feeling this pressure, and they are relying on chemical companies to provide them with materials to placate their customers. Employees are also demanding that their employers do more to promote sustainability.

The rise of environmental, social and governance investing will create another sustainability front for chemical companies. Some lenders are even issuing loans whose interest rates are tied to borrowers meeting sustainability goals.

Chemical recycling is one way that companies can meet these demands from lenders, investors, employees and consumers.

ADVANTAGES OF CHEMICAL RECYCLING              
Chemical recycling is the ultimate closed-loop system because:

  • It brings plastics back to feedstocks that can be used to make virgin resin.
  • It also avoids some of the problems with mechanical recycling.
    • Under mechanical recycling, waste plastic is re-processed without being broken down chemically.
    • In mechanical recycling, plastics of different grades and with varying additives get mixed up, resulting in material that is heterogenous. This compromises the qualities of the material. In addition, each time a plastic is re-heated and re-processed, it becomes degraded. As the quality of the recycled plastic deteriorates, it goes into less demanding applications. Ultimately, it ends up in the trash.
  • Chemical recycling avoids this problem because it breaks down plastic into oils and monomers, which can be used to make virgin resins.
  • Polymers such as polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) are chemically recycled through pyrolysis to produce oil. Pyrolysis can tolerate different grades of plastic, but the end product is an oil, which often needs further refining before it can be converted into monomers and new polymers.
  • Condensation plastics such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) can be chemically recycled into valuable monomers, which require little processing before they can be used to make new plastics. The problem is that the waste condensation-plastics cannot tolerate much contamination before they can be recycled.
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) presents its own problems since the chlorine in the polymer can react during chemical processes to produce harmful byproducts.

Given the challenges for chemical recycling, mechanical recycling can still play an important role. It doesn’t require the upfront capital costs involved with building chemical plants.

Ideally, mechanical and chemical recycling would work side by side with waste-to-energy operations at a recycling centre.

Sorting could be done by consumer, since this would require little effort on their parts. Plastic deposit fees – similar to those for bottles or aluminium cans – could give consumers more incentive to separate and sort their plastic waste.

The logistics involved with collecting plastics is as much of a challenge as perfecting the technologies involved with recycling polymers, be it mechanically or chemically.

Article based on the information of Insight article ICIS by Al Greenwood.

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New initiative for a circular plastics economy

March 6th 2020 Launch of the European Plastics Pact

About the European Plastics Pact

Initially led by France, the Netherlands and Denmark, the European Plastic Pact is a public-private coalition that forms a European network of companies, states and other organisations such as NGOs on mastering single-use plastic products and packaging.

In the face of the proliferation of plastic waste, the aim of the pact is to set ambitious common objectives and to encourage cooperation, innovation and harmonisation at the European level, in order to bring about a truly circular European plastics economy.

The Pact relies on the “pioneers” in the plastics value chain and on the most committed governments, in order to create a bold movement that will pave the way for the rest of the market.

The Pact works on all levels to reduce the release of plastics into the environment: by improving the recyclability and reusability of products by design, by shifting to a more responsible use of plastics, by increasing collection, sorting and recycling, and by incorporating more recycled materials into new products and packaging.

Mastering the use of plastics in a circular economy

Plastics are everywhere in our daily lives, bringing many economic and environmental benefits. Plastics are strong, durable and versatile materials. They enhance comfort, safety and hygiene. Using plastics packaging can increase the shelf life of products and reduce fuel costs in transportation of goods, helping to cut carbon emissions. All this has resulted in a huge surge in plastics production. Over the past fifty years, the global use of plastics has increased twentyfold and is still growing.

At the same time, plastic waste is increasingly becoming a global problem, as reuse and recycling of plastics have not kept pace. This is because many products and packaging types are not designed for reuse or effective recycling. Not all use of plastics is necessary for product functionality. In addition, collection, sorting and recycling are still underdeveloped. This means a significant proportion of our plastic waste is still being incinerated or goes to landfill, which negatively affect carbon emissions. Another part ends up as litter in our environment, where it may harm wildlife or degrade into potentially harmful microplastics. While all this valuable material is being wasted, the proportion of fossil fuel being used to produce new plastics continues to grow (from 6% of oil production now to an estimated 20% by 2050).

The common vision

To tackle plastics waste and pollution at the source, we need to fundamentally rethink the way we produce, use and reuse plastics. No single organisation or individual can do this on its own. It requires a systemic shift, involving collective action by businesses from across the plastics value chain, governments, and civil society. A common vision aligns all actors on a joint understanding of what good looks like. It guides the search for solutions and aligns actions taken in the European Plastics Pact on a common sense of direction.

For plastics, the European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy has set out a vision for a plastics circular economy in the EU. For plastic packaging, the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with the UN Environment Programme, has united more than 400 organisations from across the global plastics packaging value chain behind a common vision of a circular economy for plastics. These include plastic packaging producers, consumer goods companies, retailers, companies involved in the collection, sorting and recycling of plastics, as well as national, regional and city governments, NGOs, financial institutions, industry associations, universities and other international organisations such as the World Economic Forum and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). National plastics pacts, such as The French National Pact on Plastic Packaging, the Plastics Pact NL and the UK Plastics Pact have taken action towards the same common vision for a circular economy for plastics. The European Plastics Pact adopts this vision, as this provides a global framework for our actions.

Infographic European Plastics Pact

The Goals:

  • Reusability and recyclability by design
    • To design all plastic packaging and single-use plastic products brought to the market by participants to be reusable where possible, and in all cases to be recyclable by 2025.
  • Responsible use of plastics
    • To shift towards a more responsible use of plastic packaging and single-use plastic products, aiming for a reduction in virgin plastic products and packaging of at least 20% (by weight) by 2025, with half of this reduction coming from an absolute reduction of plastics.
  • Collection, sorting and recycling
    • To raise the collection, sorting and recycling capacity in the involved countries of all plastics used in packaging and single use products by at least 25 percentage points by 2025 and to reach a quality standard of the output of the collection, sorting, and recycling process that matches market demand for recycled plastics.
  • Use of recycled plastics
    • To boost recycled plastics use in new products and packaging as much as possible by 2025, with plastics-using company achieving an average of at least 30% recycled plastics (in weight) in their range of products and packaging.