Brno Company Pioneers Upcycling of PET Bottles in the Czech Republic
Until now, there has been no initiative in the Czech Republic to turn used PET bottles into new ones. Brno firm rPET In Waste is hoping to change this. “Within two or three years, every PET bottle purchased in the Czech Republic will contain material from our company,” says the company’s founder Jiří Hudeček. Photo Credit: Freepik / Illustrative Photo.
Brno, Apr 16 (BD) – PET bottles are the most- and best-recycled type of plastic in the Czech Republic, but are not made into end products for further use in the food industry due to quality concerns. Until now, there has been no initiative in the Czech Republic to turn used PET bottles into new ones, and drinks producers have had to import recycled PET bottles from abroad. A Brno company, rPET In Waste, currently building its operation on the outskirts of the city, is hoping to change this tradition. “Within two or three years, every PET bottle purchased in the Czech Republic will contain material from our company,” said the company’s founder Jiří Hudeček.
“The customer buys a bottle of mineral water, then throws the empty bottle into a yellow container. This then gets taken from the waste-sorting line to the company, which turns it into small plastic flakes that will be transported to this new facility,” explained Hudeček. “We plan to buy these flakes from Czech producers. At rPET In Waste’s new facility, these flakes are processed using a technology that makes the resulting material safe for further use in the food industry, which no company in the Czech Republic can yet do. The beverage manufacturer will be able to buy it again and fill it with their products. The capacity of our line will be somewhere between 1,900 and 2,100 kilograms per hour. We expect to produce about 16,000 tons of regranulate (recycled plastic from production waste) per year.”
The reason Czech companies have not taken up this technology so far is mostly because recycled PET bottles are more expensive than oil. “When the price of oil is around USD 80 a barrel, the costs are comparable. However, it could easily happen that oil will cost USD 100 and our material will be cheaper,” noted Hudeček.
The company explains its future plans by pointing out that PET bottles are 100% recyclable and can be used repeatedly. Reusing the same material repeatedly in the same product is the basis of the concept of circular economy, also known as upcycling. In this way, PET material in the food industry can circulate over and over again in the system, creating minimal waste. The company’s mission statement says that they want to be the largest supplier of rPET regranulate for the food industry in the Czech Republic by 2025.