Improving your product packaging sustainability with rPET trays

Using rPET plastic in packaging is one of the easier and more effective ways to create sustainable packaging with a minimalised impact on the environment.


For many companies in the food and beverage industry, it provides the opportunity to be more environmentally conscious, without having to compromise much on packaging appearance, price or quality.

What is rPET Plastic?


PET stands for Polyethylene terephthalate, which is one of the most cheap, common plastics in the world – used for thousands of applications from water bottles to 3D printing.


Recycled PET is already used plastic that has been crushed and remelted into recycled PET granules, ready for use as part of a new piece of packaging.

Use in the Industry


Using rPET in the food and beverage industry can be difficult.


Recycled granule come in varying levels of quality. To ensure food packaging is safe for food contact, only the high quality, least-contaminated recycled material can be used. This can make finding supply more difficult. However, recycled PET is, in general, one of the least expensive sustainable packaging materials available.


However, on the upside, rPET can be easily incorporated into a wide range of food packaging, from trays to flexible films. Using it is often as simple as just swapping out virgin material for its recycled alternative.

The Benefits of using rPET




Most simply, using rPET reduces the demand for virgin PET, meaning fewer plastic ends up in landfills or in our oceans. In Australia, an estimated 2.5 billion plastic bottles are discarded each year, with only 29% being recycled.


This statistic shows the potential this material has to create change. As production and use of rPET as part of a circular economy becomes more widespread and streamlined, the benefit to the environment will increase exponentially.


Reduced Carbon Footprint


The average estimate from studies conducted worldwide, shows that replacing virgin PET with recycled material can reduce the carbon emission of the packaging by up to 50%. Post-consumer PET also uses 84% less energy than producing virgin PET.


rPET packaging also creates 50% less greenhouse gas emissions throughout manufacture than it’s virgin alternative. Further, it can also reduce GHG emissions created in the waste management phase. According to a report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, recycling plastic waste, including PET, can reduce these emissions by up to 90% compared to landfilling or incineration.


These reductions are sizable enough to make a significant difference, particularly when you consider the volume of PET currently used around the globe.


Brand Image


The use of rPET in packaging can enhance a brand’s sustainability profile. Increasingly, consumer believe that companies have a responsibility to the environment and will often make buying decision solely based on this consideration.


Having credible sustainability claims is a great way to increase customer loyalty and grow your customer base, while doing some good at the same time.


Regulatory Compliance


In Australia in particular, incorporating rPET packaging is a good way to ensure regulatory compliance. The Australian Government has flagged using recycled content in packaging as one of the key areas of their sustainability strategy, and something they encourage brands to adopt.


In fact, the National Packaging Targets include a point aiming to achieve 50% average recycled content in packaging by 2025.  Similar targets are in place in Europe and elsewhere, also.

Overall, incorporating some rPET in your packaging comes with a lot of upside. While it can be difficult to take that first step, if it is important to your business to become more sustainable, using rPET may be a great way to achieve this.