Supermarket shoppers are all familiar with them: practical trays from which beverage bottles can be removed quickly and easily. They allow for efficient, space-saving, and safe transport of bottles and save supermarket employees the time-consuming task of putting them on the shelves. Taking a further step towards sustainability, Rauch Fruchtsäfte will in future be using beverage trays made of recycled material – the new trays are made of 70% recycled PET.
Waste acquires new value
Material taken from yellow bags is used for the beverage trays. In the course of a project, it was proven that r-PET flakes can be produced from post-consumer material by means of thorough pre- and post-sorting followed by shredding and washing. From these flakes, a PET film (70% recycled material) is subsequently extruded, which is then thermoformed into r-PET trays by the Greiner Packaging business unit Greiner Assistec. In terms of quality, the recycled trays are in no way inferior to beverage trays made of new material.
Promoting independence from the PET bottle flow
The r-PET flakes are produced from input materials other than PET beverage bottles, such as cups, tubs, and trays. The project thus shows that it is possible to establish alternative PET value flows. After all, to produce packaging from recycled PET, the plastics industry today mainly uses r-PET flakes obtained by recycling PET bottles. This “bottle flow” is already well-established. The potential for recycling other PET packaging from the yellow bag, on the other hand, is not yet being exploited to any great extent. However, the aim is to establish corresponding recycling streams on a large scale in the future.
"For us, creating beverage trays from r-PET material that does not come from the bottle flow is a great opportunity: On the one hand, it means we are focusing on a sustainable product. On the other hand, we are promoting a tray-to-tray cycle. As a beverage manufacturer, we are of course particularly keen to ensure that high-quality r-PET from the bottle flow is also available for the production of new r-PET bottles and that alternative forms of packaging are used for the manufacture of other products", says Hanno Mandl, purchasing manager at Rauch Fruchtsäfte.
Success thanks to expertise
Greiner Packaging can already look back on many years of experience in processing recycled PET for its packaging. In September 2022, the plastics expert announced the acquisition of a Serbian r-PET flakes recycler, which now operates under the name Greiner Recycling.
“By expanding a year ago, we sent a clear signal and underscored that we believe in the potential of r-PET for a sustainable future of the packaging industry. Even then, it was our clear goal to drive recycling streams away from bottles. The project together with Rauch Fruchtsäfte is just one step on this path, to be followed by many more", says Peter Fessl, Director Operations Recycling at Greiner Packaging.
About Greiner Packaging
Greiner Packaging is one of the leading European manufacturers of plastic packaging in the food and non-food sector. For over 60 years, the company has stood for a high level of solution competence in development, design, production, and decoration. Greiner Packaging meets the challenges of the market with two business units: Packaging and Assistec. While the former stands for innovative packaging solutions, the latter focuses on the production of customized technical parts. Greiner Packaging employs over 5,000 people at 30 locations in 19 countries worldwide. In 2022, the company achieved an annual turnover of 909 million euros (incl. joint ventures). This is almost 40% of Greiner’s total turnover.