Product trials were carried out with Coca-Cola Enterprises, Marks and Spencer (M&S) and Boots - in conjunction with plastic recycling specialist Closed Loop London - covering sourcing, production, processing and testing, as well as consumer acceptance.
The trials showed that it is perfectly possible to package food, beverages and beauty products in containers containing up to 50% of recycled material without compromising performance, storage stability or visual appeal.
The ultimate measure of the project's success is that both M&S and Boots are now widely using rPET in their product lines and Coca-Cola are planning to carry out further trials using rPET.
Coca-Cola trials showed that using r-PET reduced the amount of energy needed for bottle manufacture compared to virgin resin, offering a small saving in electricity costs.
rPET can be more expensive if bought in small quantities, but once economies of scale arise, the cost of rPET is comparable to virgin PET. Using rPET could present a means of managing fluctuating resin costs.
Several new UK rPET plants are expected to open in 2007/8 which will significantly increase supply to the UK packaging sector.
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