Coffee milk producer Friesche Vlag is switching from its single-use glass coffee milk bottles to recycled PET bottles. These rPET bottles feature a sleeve with ‘zipper’ that allows consumers to easily remove the label from the bottle so the bottles can be recycled.
‘Replacing single-use glass, a material we’ve all been recycling for years, with plastic can feel like the wrong move,’ says R&D director Patrick van Baal.
‘We know that the carbon footprint and fossil resource use of our recycled PET bottles is significantly lower than the single-use glass bottles we were using.’
In addition, the recycled PET bottles are not breakable, easy to open and pour better. It is our ambition to become fully circular with the smallest possible impact on the climate. With this introduction we are taking another good step towards our goals of using circular packaging with the lowest possible carbon footprint.’
Cap and label
The rPET bottles of Goudband and Halvamel consist of 100% recycled material. The cap and label are not made of recycled material. The rPET bottle (excluding cap and label) of Balance is made of 89% recycled material. Because Balance is a sensitive product, it is extra important to keep oxygen out of the bottle. To achieve this, FrieslandCampina adds a so-called extra ‘oxygen barrier’ to the bottle. This is why the bottle cannot yet be made from 100% recycled PET. We are continuing to work on improving this. All bottles are fully recyclable after the label – which is not recyclable – is removed and the cap is put back on,’ says Van Baal.
One of the objectives of FrieslandCampina’s sustainability program ‘Nourishing a better planet’ is to create better packaging that is 100% circular and CO2 neutral, and in which the company minimizes the amount of packaging material. To this end, the company has also established its goals through international and national partnerships such as the European and Dutch Plastic Pact and ‘the new plastics global commitment’ of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
In the Netherlands, finally, a deposit return system for small plastic bottles and cans will come into effect on the 1st of July, 2021 respectively 31st of December 31, 2022.
This entails a huge expansion of the current Deposit Return System (DRS) in the Netherlands. “After decades of resistance by industry, this government’s decision is great news in the fight against plastic pollution.
Currently, only plastic bottles larger than 1 liter have a deposit in the Netherlands. On the 1st of July 2021, small bottles (used for water or soft drinks) under 1 liter will come with a deposit amount of 15 euro cents. 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. There are approximately 2 billion cans in circulation in the Netherlands every year. And according to European Aluminium, about 82% of this is recycled in the Netherlands, or 1.7 billion. The government wants to improve this and announced that a deposit on cans will be introduced as of December 31st , 2022. Also a deposit of 15 euro cents is then charged per can.
The Netherlands is not unique in this aspect and is even a late bloomer.
Sweden, for example, has had a deposit system for the 1.8 billion cans and plastic bottles that circulate in the country every year.
Germany has probably the highest recycling rate. They have a DRS since 2003 and a 99% recycling rate.
Scotland has for example implemented an ‘all-in-DRS’. There is a 20 pence deposit on all beverage packaging from 50 milliliters to three liters. And it does not matter whether the packaging is made of aluminum, steel, glass or PET plastic.
However, by implementing a deposit on small plastic bottles and cans, 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.
This article gives you good examples why plastics and climate are an ideal combination. Especially using recycled PET or Food Grade pellets.
When it comes to climate change mitigation, plastics have a great story to tell.
The change will only succeed if it drives also the transition towards a low carbon, resource efficient and circular economy. For this to happen, plastics enable the innovations that are needed by a sustainability strategy – such as the European Green Deal – to deliver.
Example 1. Building & construction (renovation)
Plastics are a springboard for the renovation wave in the building sector as they enable big energy savings and are carbon efficient. Plastic insulation improves the energy efficiency of your home, which translates into a positive impact on climate.
In fact,itsaves up to 80% of your energy consumption and 250 times more energy than used to produce it.
Example 2. Sustainable mobility
You may not be aware of where plastics are used in your car, but they are doing their job for you – in car body parts, airbags, carpets, electrification, under the hood, to name but a few.
Thanks to its lightweight properties, plastics contribute efficiently to fuel savings which translate into lower CO2 emissions in diverse fields of transport, including electric mobility.
Plastics enableup to 35% fuel savings compared to components made from other materials.
Example 3. Preserving food from farm to fork
Food waste is one of the biggest challenges of our society. Plastic packaging saves food by protecting it from external factors – damage, deterioration, spoilage from farm to fork and ensuring hygiene.
Research shows that, if food were packed in a material other than plastics, the related energy consumption would double, greenhouse gas emissions would nearly triple, overall weight of packaging would quadruple, and food waste would increase.
The weight of plastic packaging has been reduced by more than 35% over a 20-year period. Lightweight packaging means lighter loads or fewer lorries needed to ship the same amount of products, helping to reduce transportation energy, decrease emissions and lower shipping costs.
Example 4. Transforming the energy sector
Plastics enable the production of clean and renewable energy as windmill blades and solar panels are made with plastics.
In a nutshell, plastics can make the difference by providing solutions for affordable renovation of households, sustainable transport, easier access to safe food, clean, reliable and affordable energy.
We would like to share some thoughts within the chemical industry on plastic recycling. It is based on an article of Joseph Chang from ICIS.
The chemical industry must accelerate investment in plastics recycling to achieve scale as activist and government pressure mounts. The pace of change is too slow. The industry has to move a lot faster before society looks to the producers as the problem and who have to fix it.
There is no technical challenge. Thermodynamics – the science behind the process – is sound. There are plenty of prototypes, catalysts and small-scale but fully developed chemical recycling processes that can convert plastics to pyrolysis oil, and this can then be used to make pellets.
The real challenge is an economic solution and an infrastructure to collect the plastic waste, sort it and bring it into the process. Activists and industry have to come together to solve this. Also public policy has to play a role. Some kind of fund has to be established so that consumer behaviour can be changed to collect these plastics and bring them to recycling locations. The industry thinks it has a lot of time to solve this problem. But something has to be done rather quickly. Likely public policy will force action, restricting the sale and export of virgin plastics. That would be an option – basically don’t allow exports unless the pellets have a recycled content of at least 30%!
Another challenge is the social impact in local municipalities. Companies and governments must also consider the social impact of waste collection and plastics recycling. Having large-scale chemical recycling facilities where plastic waste is directed to may not be feasible. Building an ecosystem can technically be done. But is it also possible to influence consumer behaviour in less than a year?
The whole original article by Joseph Chang, 13-Apr-21, can be read on www.icis.com (News/Insight & Analysis).
Egypt’s Suez Canal has been blocked by a massive container vessel, which ran aground the key waterway, and cause delays in global shipments of commodities.
The vessel “Ever Given” got stuck in the southern end of the canal while making a turn on Tuesday. The vessel is still stuck in the canal, which provides the shortest marine route between Europe and Asia. Several tugboats have been deployed to help shift the container ship but didn’t succeed so far. “Ever Given” is 400-metre long and 59-metre wide container ship with a total carrying capacity of around 200.000 tons. The container ship has blocked off a lot of other vessels and tankers from traversing in either direction. The canal is a critical chokepoint because of the large volumes of energy commodities that flow through it.
It is still not clear how long it will take to free “Ever Given” from the spot. Ships heading both ways and shipment through the canal will be badly affected by the bottlenecks. “Ever Given” is carrying containers bound for Rotterdam in the Netherlands from China.
The good news is that carriers can show their skills in the requested higher level of information services. I received a mail the day after!
The bad news is, this won’t be the last time a vessel, with an immense loading capacity, will run into trouble. Shippers are looking for alternatives more and more. For example using the silk road, using the multi modal rail option.
Faster, greener and more reliable container rail services between China and Europe are at the moment also more cost-efficient than the all-water alternative. Urgent container capacity shortages and intense sea freight rate inflation are giving an extra push to rail cargo service links between China and Europe. The traffic recently increased with 10-15% in loads moving overland between China and Europe. With transit times between 16-18 days comparing to around 35 days for Shanghai-Rotterdam 40ft high-cube container moves by sea, speed is certainly a key advantage for rail.
Another alternative you might see at the bigger companies chartering their own ships. Smaller, still expensive but more agile and reliable.
Large companies, organizations and trade associations join initiatives to increase the amount of recycled polyester content to their products. Last week you could read in an article of ICIS about Textile Exchange working together with the United nations to “commit to bring the percentage of recycled polyester up from 14% to 45% at 17.1 million metric tonnes by 2025.” PET is the most widely used fibre in the apparel industry.
This week UNESDA Soft Drinks Europe announced that beverage packaging will be fully circular by 2030. Meaning PET bottles will be made from 50% recycled and/or renewable PET by 2025, and move to 100% by 2030. These targets go above and beyond the EU’s mandate of 25% recycled content in all PET bottles by 2025, rising to 30% recycled content by 2030.
UNESDA also presented a wish list of areas for support from the EU and national governments, including:
long-term perspective and legal certainty as well as protecting the single market;
a well-functioning secondary raw materials market that gives the soft drinks sector access to sufficient high quality rPET in order to meet its obligations under EU law, without compromising on safety standards and avoiding downcycling;
increased investment in waste management and recycling infrastructure;
an EU framework enabling innovative recycling technologies;
EU minimum requirements for new DRS across Europe
clear definitions of recyclability that foster innovation and investment
We would like to share a new slogan in our logo with you. It is changed into “Driving Circularity”! Written in sky blue it will give us and our customers the right focus for the future.
We also welcomed Paul Burgers in our team this month. His main responsibility will be Business Development and Sales. Paul has a background in (PET-)packaging, labeling & supply chain, always with a sustainability focus. Paul has built up experience from scale up, smaller family companies to large businesses across the globe in various industries.
what you see is what you get
a (good) sense of humor
eager to learn
he is the youngest team member but already with less hair 😉
We are happy to share this article of an unbelievable project with rPET. IMd Consulting Engineers has given the go-ahead for the printing of the very first 3D-printed pavilion, made entirely from recycled PET bottles. After years of material research in collaboration with TU Delft, it is the first time that this polyester plastic is used constructively.
With some delay, due to the corona crisis, the pavilion will be presented in Rotterdam somewhere in 2021. It marks the start of an experiment.
The building is not a target itself, but part of an investigation into the material and its possibilities. How long will the structure keep its shape? Is there an architectural future for this material? When the structure loses its shape or strength over time, the material will simply be reused.
The idea for the pavilion was born in 2019 and was further developed. A search for the right concept and material led to the plastic polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is printable and recyclable.
From the start of this ambitious plan, IMd has been working closely with Ector Hoogstad Architecten for the architecture of the building. TU Delft conducted research into material properties such as load-bearing capacity and acoustics. With the pavilion, IMd shows that PET can be easily reused and also has structural properties. The structure consists of various shell parts, each weighing about 300 kilos. The shape of the pavilion is a derivative of the material properties. The material is self-supporting and has a slender shell that is partly hollow to reduce weight. The complex, organic shape that it produces is easy to print, making the pavilion a combination of material properties and production technology and will soon be a model of innovation, sustainability and reuse.
The Spanish company Nagami started the printing process for the building in early 2020. A printing process of four consecutive months was required to realize the building. That process started in January 2020, but was delayed due to Covid-19. The printing process has now resumed.
Container shipping costs have jumped drastically along some routes as the coronavirus pandemic remaps traditional trading patterns and issues at European ports. Add the delays in the region and you’ll understand our worries. Read the highlights of the market impact, disruption, congestion and container shipping alliances in article by Tom Brown of ICIS.
The recovery of multiple key Asian markets from the pandemic, relative to the ongoing struggles faced in the west, has led to a surge in exports from the region to the rest of the world, with less product going back the other way.
The shift in demand patterns has led to containers returning empty to Asia as demand for exports from the region significantly outstripped demand for imports, increasing costs and lead times for orders.
Shipping lines cut capacity drastically during the first wave of pandemic-related lockdowns, and have failed to boost it sufficiently as demand bounced back.
Container availability has been disrupted by too many full containers being stuck in distribution chains west of Suez or in congested ports of entry, with logistics slowed down because of manpower shortages related to coronavirus lockdowns.
Normally freight costs are around $1,500 for a 20ft container. Now you talk about $5,000. It changes every week! The extent of demand has led to shortages in Asia, with shipping firms going so far as to send additional empty containers to the region just to alleviate some of the pressure.
Sources spoke of shipping freight rates for dry cargo rising three- or four-fold, and lead times dragging from six weeks to eight, at a point where demand patterns are extremely difficult to determine due to the trading volatility seen in the market outlook.
Lockdown measures in many European countries are creating additional headaches for the shipping sector, Some sources report the use of smaller vessels to cut down on mooring fees but resulting in reduced vessel space, and shipper terms changing fast.
All the Asian countries are producing and exporting and not importing, because of Covid etcetera.
Shipping lines are saying they can’t respect their contracts. They say: pay or we won’t ship!
DISRUPTION TO PERSIST INTO 2021 Some Asia sources have expressed expectations that freight container tightness in the region is likely to persist until February 2021.
The Chinese say it will last until March or April 2021, then the cycle of containers should go back to normal.
PORT CONGESTION Trade disruptions, bulk orders of medical equipment by governments and geopolitical issues such as the UK’s imminent expected departure from the EU customs union, is also causing congestion at ports and storage issues.
Other key European ports have also had issues, with Rotterdam suffering from delays to arrivals and discharges of shipments due to issues with a new IT system.
The practicalities of operating during the pandemic are also exacerbating delays at European ports, with additional health and safety checks, furloughing, and social distancing also slowing the speed that product moves through the ports.
Lockdowns are expected to ease in most European countries but, with the virus still circulating at high rates and restrictions expected to be temporarily eased for a spell over the Christmas break, controls on contact and the potential for staff shortages from illness remain high.
The issues mean that, while supply chains are largely continuing to hold and orders continue to be met, logistics issues are likely to continue exacerbating demand opacity, economic volatility and shifts among buyers to more hand to mouth purchasing habits, making for a treacherous landscape for firms through to the new year.
CONTAINER SHIPPING ALLIANCES Although shipping cartels were outlawed in 2004, shippers are permitted to operate in alliances to optimize use of shipping space.
The OECD’s International Transport Forum claims that links between these consortia mean a large majority of trade routes to and from Europe are operated by one conglomeration of these groups.
It is concerned that too much information may be shared on volumes, costs and pricing.
The container sector is a lot less fragmented compared to a few years ago. Now the top five owners are controlling close to 65% of capacity.
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