PET Recycling Tips

  1. Don’t simply throw away PET bottles with other rubbish or as litter on street
  2. Do separate PET bottles from other waste and put them out separately in a bag
  3. Do rinse the container if possible with clean water to remove residue to avoid nasty smells and drawing unwelcome insects before you put them in a bag
  4. Do pick PET bottles that you see lying around and put them in a bag. Teach your family to do the same.
  5. Do take your bag of separated PET to your closest collection point or drop off point if your municipality does not pick separately.
  6. Do look out for clearly marked cages or collection containers in public spaces
  7. Do discuss recycling with others. Everyone should know the importance of recycling plastics
  8. Do join and participate in recycling schemes at your local school or other recycling initiatives
  9. Do consider making an income by becoming a PET collector
  10. Do call, contact or visit PetrecoZim at its various contact platforms to hear more about PET recycling and initiatives in your area.

(Adopted from www.petco.co.za)

Help Us to Recycle…

The biggest challenge to PET recycling in Zimbabwe is that a significant number of companies in the PET value chain are not involved in any known programmes to reclaim their waste PET bottles released into the environment. This is primarily because it costs money to recycle. The adage that everyone wants to go green until it starts to cost money unfortunately holds true in the case of Zimbabwe.

However we believe there are a few things that PET value chain players (converters, bottlers and importers and brand owners) can do to promote recycling of PET bottles without making direct financial contribution to a recycling programme. Adhering to standard design for recycling guidelines will reduce the cost of recycling and make PET recycling efforts much easier and enjoyable. The guidelines, which are rooted in Waste Hierachy, strike a balance between achieving recycling best practices on one hand while guaranteeing product safety, consumer acceptance and functionality on the other.

Design for Recycling Guidelines (Adopted from Petco South Africa; www.petco.co.za)

  • Choosing Material Type:- Minimize the number of different plastics used and specify plastics that can be recycled together or easily separated in the recycling process.
  • Material Identification:- Major plastic components (container, caps and lids) should carry a clearly visible material identifier to facilitate the visual identification of plastic types during manual separation.
  • Composite Materials / Barrier Layers:- Consider the use of thin layered composites carefully and avoid lightweight plastic laminates which are not cost effective to recycle.
  • Colour of Plastic:-Avoid coloured plastic material as well as direct printing onto the PET bottles.
  • Closures /Closure Liners / Cap Seals/Sleeves:- Ideally should be recyclable themselves. Don’t use PET closures on PET bottles. Ideally use PP/HDPE and avoid metal caps. Do not use the materials that have the same density or else they cannot be sorted and separated during the floatation stage of recycling.
  • Labels and Adhesives:- Adhesive use and surface coverage should be minimized and designed to completely detach from the bottle at the slightest effort with use of water soluble or hot melt. Avoid paper lables, labels that delaminate, foil seals and rather use polyethylene, polypropylene (BOPP) as preferred label materials. If possible use glue on the label only, avoid printing directly onto the bottles.
  • Inks: –Avoid metal inks or inks that would die the wash solution (bleed).
  • Avoid Self Declared Environmental Claims:- If it’s not independently assessed by a credible authority, don’t say it.
  • Avoid Additives:- Avoid chemical additives such as those that aid the breakdown of the material or anti statics etc and make it known that they are in the product.
  • Closing the loop:- Consider the possibility of including recycled plastics in the packaging and support the recovery of plastics by providing a market for reprocessed material, increase cost savings and reduce the environmental impact of the package.