Alpla switched its PET Recycling Team plants in Wöllersdorf, Austria, and Radomsko, Poland, to a mix of electricity from renewable sources in order to produce carbon-neutral rPET (= recycled polyethylene terephthalate). ‘This step has already had a big impact on the carbon footprint of our food-grade regranulate – according to the calculations, emissions are cut by up to 90 per cent compared with virgin material. The feedback from the market regarding this further development has been very good,’ explains Georg Lässer, Head of Recycling at Alpla.
The company is now offering its customers carbon-neutral rPET based on the purchase of certificates. The remaining, unavoidable emissions relating, for example, to delivery of the input material to the plants, are then offset with carbon certificates. ‘The world’s first carbon-neutral regranulate can make a significant contribution to climate protection and highlight the value of used plastics,’ says Lässer.
Carefully selected projects with a social background
Alpla has selected specific projects in cooperation with the climate neutrality alliance Klimaneutralitätsbündnis 2025 and the NGO Helioz. A reforestation project in Nicaragua is being supported. In China, traditional coal-fired stoves are being replaced with ovens run on biomass. These not only vastly reduce emissions, but also prevent the health implications caused by harmful exhaust air. In Ethiopia, 5,000 household packages (modern stoves, vegetable seeds, seedlings, training) are being financed. In regions in Asia and Africa, Alpla is supporting the organisation Helioz, which provides solar devices that monitor water disinfection using PET bottles.
Recycling for climate protection
Based on life cycle assessments, packaging types containing a high proportion of recycled material have the least impact on the climate. With the world’s first carbon-neutral rPET, Alpla is helping its customers to achieve their sustainability goals. ‘We are once again demonstrating that close collaboration between packaging developers, packaging manufacturers and recycling experts can lead to solutions which set an example for the industry as a whole,’ Lässer concludes affirmatively.