ALPLA recyclers report improved rPET global footprint using renewable energy

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Alpla-Werke Alwin Lehner GmbH & Co KG, a world leader in plastics packaging, revealed its recycling offshoot has now more than halved the global footprint of its r-PET output by using electricity generated from renewable energy.

A new independent study, commissioned by Hard, Austria-based ALPLA, showed greenhouse gas emissions from in-house r-PET production by the subsidiary, PET Recycling Team (PRT) are only a tenth as high as those for virgin PET. 

The latest study, carried out by an Austrian business management consultancy, c7-consult, shows that PRT achieved a CO2 equivalent value of just 0.21kg for every kilogram of material produced.

This new figure compared with a previous carbon dioxide equivalent of 0.45kg obtained by PRT in an earlier independent study last year, prior to using the optimised power mix, reported ALPLA.

“By switching to electricity from renewable sources, we have again managed to reduce CO2 emissions by a considerable margin,” commented Peter Fröschel, manager of the PRT plant at Wöllersdorf. PRT annual r-PET production amounts to 31,000 tonnes.

“It would take a mixed forest area, the size of 6,231 football pitches to absorb the same amount of carbon dioxide emissions we are saving each year compared to the production of new PET material,” the manager pointed out.

The carbon footprint was calculated in accordance with ISO 14044, starting with the collection and sorting of used PET bottles and covering transit to the Wöllersdorf plant as well as washing, processing and granulating. The analysis is based on the mass and energy balance (electricity and gas consumption) for 2016, which has remained constant since, explained APLA.

The group has seen growing demand for products made with recycled materials. “In recent years, we have managed to move away from discussions that focus purely on cost, establishing sustainability as a core value,” commented its chief executive Günther Lehner.

ALPLA has been working on recycling techniques for more than 20 years. Apart from the PRT offshoot at Wöllersdorf, it set up a recycling plant at Radomsko, Poland in 2013 and has a joint venture plant at Toluca in Mexico.

The three plants together produce 65,000 tonnes of food-grade r-PET from post consumer waste per year, reports ALPLA.

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