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Circular Economy

The Present and Future of PET PCR in Brazil

07/04/2022

In recent years, post-consumer recycled PET (PCR) has increased in value, significantly and positively changing the economic scenario of PET recycling in Brazil. The most recent census published by ABIPET, the Brazilian PET Industry Association shows that the amount of collected post-consumer PET returned to the level of 2014, above 300 thousand tons annually.

Also according to the census, the large volumes of post-consumer PET have recyclables traders who acquire the material from collectors. Thus, when the price of post-consumer PET scrap is appreciated, it increases the incentive for the collection of this material by these collectors, boosting recycling and the bottle-to-bottle process in the country.

What does the future hold for PET PCR?

According to the ABIPET Census, in 2006, Brazil registered a recycling rate of 51%. This was the first time it exceeded 50%. In the following years, this rate continued increasing, reaching its peak, 59%, in 2012. After a period of decline, the country recovered and ended 2019 with a peak of 55%. Even though it has recovered, this data shows that the sector has evolved little since 2006.

In Brazil, the use of PET PCR is voluntary. This means that its pricing, in the a long term, will be aligned with virgin PET resin. However, the cost of production of PCR PET resin is much higher than the cost of virgin PET resin production due mainly to differences in production scale. This makes the recycling industry’s profit margin lower and, as consequence, does not attract new investments.

One of the most effective ways to increase the recycling rate of PET is the regulation of Law No 12.305/10 – PNRS, which would make the use of a minimum amount of PET PCR resin mandatory, as a way to prove the reverse logistics. Therefore, we would see an increasing demand for PET PCR resin, which would generate a pricing unrelated to the pricing of virgin resin, driving a chain reaction that would attract new investments and growth in the sector.

Legislation like this is not new: the United Kingdom and some states in the United States already have mandatory policies for the use of PET PCR in new PET packaging and hope to increase their recycling rates with this measure.

Valgroup innovative solutions for recycled PET

Valgroup pioneered the implementation of bottle-to-bottle technology in Brazil, and in 2008 it was the first company to obtain ANVISA’s approval for the use of PET PCR resin for direct contact with food.

Our resin, by itself, is already an innovative solution, since every year PET bottles that are difficult to recycle are introduced to the market. Products such as colored bottles, bottles with additives to extend shelf life, bottles with labels that are difficult to remove, among others, which make the recycling process more difficult and increase the chances of bottles not being recycled. Our technology has been improved to provide our customers with a high quality PET PCR resin, in order to enable its use up to 100%, with no decrease in performance quality or in the transformation process.

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