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Food Manufacturers ‘Holding Back rPET’; Lush Outsources Recycling

The use of recycled PET in the food sector is being held back by poor quality control and by brand owners’ misconceptions, according to PET bottle molder APPE.

The company, which says it is the largest food-grade PET recycler in Europe, is investing €10m at its recycling plant in Beaune, France to increase food-grade rPET output by 40 percent. But, European Plastics News reported, further expansions could be constrained by low supply of post-consumer PET.

Frédéric Blanchard, plant director of the Beaune facility, said the lack of supply is causing the price of post-consumer PET bales to rise to record highs. He said recyclers’ costs also include blending, process controls and changeovers. But he said brand owners think incorrectly that rPET should be cheaper than its virgin cousin.

In other packaging news, multi-national cosmetics company Lush has outsourced the recycling of its black polypropylene cosmetics pots from its shops in the north of England, to eco-manufacturer Remarkable, Edie.net reports. Lush packaging buyer Maria Feast said many local governments don’t have a process in place to handle this material.

Lush has created an in-store takeback scheme for product containers, which either go back to the Lush pot manufacturer or to Remarkable’s factory. There, the pots are washed, cut down into plastic chips and melted into new pots, which go back to Lush.

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