“Plastic bottle for plastic bottle” project is closing the loop process in the beverage industry by collecting and recycling waste plastic bottles.
Dinos is the largest company for collecting and processing of non-hazardous waste in Slovenia. Dinos is also a service provider in the field of packaging and packaging waste. The sustainable project, called “Plastic bottle for plastic bottle” involved 3 companies, i. e. Dinos, GastroPET and Fructal. Dinos is a company which collects packaging waste, sorts it and deliver waste plastic bottles to GastroPET. GastroPET is a production company, which recycles plastic bottles and forms a recycled material RPET. Recycled raw materials are processed into PET preforms, which are blowed into new plastic bottles in company Fructal. Fructal company fills the bottles with the beverage and send them to the market. All plastic bottles, placed on the market by Fructal, consists of recycled materials, which is supplied by Dinos and recycled by GastroPET. Once on the market, Dinos takes care through their promotion and environmental awareness activities that plastic bottles are collected (e. g. in public institutions). Those plastic bottles that are considered waste (due to non-compliance with the technical standards) and those collected through dedicated waste-collecting programmes (including schools), are returned back to Dinos and are further processed. This is how these companies made their material loop is closed. And the circle goes again and again.
No specific resources were needed, since all companies already had the technology in place. The main challenge was to set up the partnership among companies (trust-building process).
Evidence of success
More than 1.120 tons of plastic bottles have been recycled and reused during project lifetime. Fructal company raised their use of recycled PET content in the plastic bottles delivered to the market from 30 % to 50 %. The use of recycled PET preforms will reduce the CO2 emissions by 60 % compared to virgin (non-recycled) PET preforms. In 2018 we reduced CO2 emissions by 434.000 kg.
Following challenges were encountered: economic viability of participation in the project; absence of stimulation (subsidizing the project); national regulatory frame (absence of clear regulation and criteria between the by-products and waste); absence of solid support among other similar companies.
Potential for learning or transfer
The project turned out to be successful, since it brought tangible results in terms of environmental benefits as well as business models. The companies, involved in the eco-system, were driven by responsibility to protect the environment and to use the secondary raw materials instead of buying virgin resources. The project, being launched as a pilot project, has a huge transfer potential, since industrial and technological processes are mainly already in place. The main issue to be tackled is the will of company to set up such logistics and industrial symbiosis that will be beneficial for all stakeholders involved.
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