China banned import of PET wastes in the beginning of this year creating huge piles of PET waste in the US, UK and other countries which used to ship millions of tons of PET waste into China. However, Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) reported that the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC) will allow the import of high-grade PET bottle flakes, recycled plastics pellets as general goods without the need for a license, if they meet certain criteria.
Mexico is now the leading country in Latin America in PET collection and recycling with 56.3 percent of PET containers in the country being recovered and recycled.
Much of this achievement is because of PetStar that has enabled Mexico to recycle its PET waste in the past decade. In fact the company has increased PET bottle recycling volume by 150 percent in five years.
Food and beverages major Unilever along with chemicals company Ioniqa and resin producer Indorama Ventures (IVL) are coming together to develop a solution for PET recycling that is completely circular in nature.
The solution aims to develop a food packaging system that converts PET waste into virgin grade PET material. The solution breaks down non-recycled PET waste such as colored PET bottles into base molecule level by separating the color and other contaminants. The result is a PET material that is comparable to virgin grade PET.
Braskem, Americas’ largest producer of thermoplastic resins, estimates that global demand for monoethylene glycol (MEG) – a key ingredient in PET production – will be between 25 to 30 million tonnes per year, with 85% going into PET production.
Meanwhile as companies are more keen on sustainable solutions, some buyers are looking at biobased or green plastics to achieve carbon emission targets. As such the demand for green plastics is expected to manifold in the coming years.