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Indorama Ventures expands PET recycling facilities in France and Poland

| By Mary Bailey

10 billion post-consumer PET plastic bottles from across Europe will be recycled per year by 2023 in Indorama Ventures Ltd.’s (IVL; Bangkok, Thailand) new and expanded facilities in France and Poland. IVL is investing $1.5 billion globally to expand its recycling facilities. The new investment, that will see over 1.7 billion additional post-consumer PET plastic bottles recycled, was welcomed today by UNESDA Soft Drinks Europe, whose members have committed to use recycled PET (rPET) in their bottles.

“Today we are announcing a new recycling facility in Verdun France and expansion of two recently acquired facilities in Bielsko-Biala and Leczyca Poland. Combined with our existing European facilities, IVL will recycle almost 10 billion post-consumer PET plastic bottles in Europe per year, by 2023. François LAGRUE, Head of Operations – Europe, Indorama Ventures Recycling Group said, This new expanded capacity will mean that, in our facilities alone, an extra 1.7 billion more bottles will be recycled in 2023, compared with 2020. This will lend significant support in realising the EU’s plastic collection and recycling targets.

“This investment in recycling is made possible because of our customers. Their commitment to bottle-to-bottle recycling allows us to invest in the infrastructure Europe needs. These new and expanded recycling facilities will support our shared goal of closed-loop and sustainable packaging solutions.”

In 2019, Indorama Ventures announced it would be aiming for a minimum of 750,000 metric tons of rPET globally by 2025, investing up to USD1.5 billion to achieve this goal. IVL’s new plant in Verdun along with recent acquisitions in Bielsko-Biala and Leczyca will work with their existing PET flake production facilities in Europe. Verdun will be commissioned in Q4 2021 and IMP Polowat’s facilities in Poland were acquired in October 2020. These provide the washed and shredded post-consumer bottles as PET flake feedstock to produce rPET resin that is suitable for food contact use. The input tonnage processed is equivalent to 9.8 billion post-consumer bottles. PET (polyethylene terephthalate) is 100% recyclable and the most collected and recycled plastic packaging in Europe

Nicholas Hodac, Director General of UNESDA Soft Drinks Europe said, “We welcome this investment in Europe’s circular economy. Europe’s soft drinks industry is working hard to drive sustainability throughout its value chain – from sourcing, production and distribution through to packaging, collection, recycling and reuse. This investment is another proof point that circularity works in Europe. By delivering a closed-loop system we ensure that valuable secondary raw material is not wasted and we achieve a well-functioning EU market.”

In 2018, UNESDA agreed a series of ambitions to make its plastic packaging more sustainable. This included using a minimum of 25 percent recycled PET (rPET) content in bottles by 2025. As a result, investment in recycling has been stimulated and rolled out. Many UNESDA members – including Suntory, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola – have gone further and announced ambitious targets for even more recycled content in Europe’s favourite soft drink bottles.

“We must ensure that the right infrastructure is in place – starting with efficient collection schemes – and that all stakeholders play their part in order to achieve a circular economy for plastic bottles. Today’s announcement is a sign that our members’ commitment is driving investment and delivering real results. PET bottles can be collected and recycled at very high rates in a closed-loop system, which also enables the industry to boost the uptake of recycled content in bottles. It is another example demonstrating that circularity works.”