PET: Neste, Suntory, Eneos and Mitsubishi to produce biobased PET bottles; Indorama Ventures and AMB partner to produce rPET food tray packaging

Neste, Suntory, Eneos and Mitsubishi to produce biobased PET bottles

Materials firm Neste has entered a cooperation with Suntory, Eneos and Mitsubishi Corporation to enable the production of PET resin made with renewable Neste RE on a commercial scale. Neste RE is Neste’s feedstock for polymers production, made 100% from bio-based raw materials such as waste and residues, e.g. used cooking oil, to replace fossil feedstock in the value chain. Japanese beverage company Suntory will utilise the renewable PET resin to produce bottles for its products in 2024.

A new partner for Neste in Japan, Eneos will use bio-intermediates based on Neste RE to produce bio-PX (Bio-Paraxylene) at its Mizushima Refinery in Okayama, Japan. The bio-PX will then be converted to PTA (Purified Terephthalic Acid) and subsequently to PET resin for Suntory to use to manufacture their PET bottles. Mitsubishi Corporation will be coordinating the collaboration between the value chain partners.

“In order to tackle the imminent climate crisis and its consequences, companies are required to take responsibility now. Through partnering along the value chain, Neste can contribute to reducing the polymers and chemicals industry’s dependence on fossil resources as well as to manufacturing of products that have a lower carbon footprint,” says Lilyana Budyanto, Head of Sustainable Partnerships APAC at Neste Renewable Polymers and Chemicals business unit.

A mass balancing approach will be applied to allocate the bio-based materials to the PET bottles.

Meanwhile, a new technology to improve the recycling of PET food trays is gaining traction as AMB Spa becomes a partner with Indorama Ventures Public Company Limited to use flake from recycled PET trays to produce film suitable for food packaging trays.

Indorama Ventures and AMB partner to produce rPET food tray packaging

AMB Spa, a European supplier of sustainable solutions for rigid and flexible for the food packaging market, is the most recent company to partner with Thailand-based chemical firm Indorama Ventures. Industry collaborations to produce recycled PET (rPET) flake for the food packaging market are helping Indorama Ventures to forge the next step towards a circular economy for PET trays.

The partnership with AMB aims to divert more than 150 million post-consumer PET trays away from landfill or incineration by the end of 2025. New technology allows Indorama Ventures to supply recycled PET flakes from post-consumer trays for AMB to use in making food-grade transparent film. This increases the recycled content sourced from trays in AMB’s end-products.

Paolo Cescutti, Chief Procurement Officer at AMB, said, “Consumers are mindful of sustainability and food safety and want a guarantee that the food trays they use are recyclable. The recycled material now possible through our partnership with Indorama Ventures means we can divert more plastic waste, to become safe, food-grade packaging. Food processors and consumers can be confident that AMB products offer true recyclability and food safety. We are proud to be one of the pioneers in bringing this to market with Indorama Ventures’ expertise.”

After more than 72 months of R&D, Indorama Ventures was able to produce rPET flakes from post-consumer trays commercially at its facility in Verdun, France. The resulting recycling technology will divert millions of post-consumer PET trays from landfill or incineration.

DK Agarwal, Deputy Group CEO, and Executive President of the Combined PET business segment at Indorama Ventures, said, “Each new partnership with sustainable packaging leaders like AMB smooths the path towards a circular economy for PET trays and extends the PET lifecycle. This means we use less raw materials while the process results in less waste and emissions. Indorama Ventures was one of the first to invest in PET food tray recyclability because we support the creation of a circular economy to prevent used products ending up in landfill and or being incinerated. Having developed the technical ability, we are excited to see this process gain traction.”

As a precursor to the partnership, in 2022, AMB launched its tray-to-tray recycling brand ‘AMB TrayRevive’ to develop infrastructure supporting recyclable packaging. The project which AMB developed as part of its overall sustainability strategy supports the EU target to have all packaging recyclable at scale and to be converted into recycled raw materials by 2035.

As the world’s largest producer of recycled resin used in plastic beverage bottles, this announcement is in line with Indorama Ventures commitment to increase PET recycling rates globally, with an ambition to achieve 750,000 tonnes of post-consumer PET bale input every year by 2025.

Investments and collaborations of this type gives consumers the confidence that their food packaging is recyclable and allows brands to invest in building circular economies by having the opportunity to choose recycled products. As momentum grows, the number of applications also expands to form a new industry built on recycled PET as a sustainable packaging option.


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