PET recycling

Helping the world recycle more

PET recycling

Helping the world recycle more

Consumers worldwide buy billions of plastic drinks bottles a year. Although most of these are made from highly recyclable PET (polyethylene terephthalate), only a small proportion are ever actually recycled. The rest end up in landfill or our rivers and seas, creating a serious environmental problem.

It does not have to be this way. Bühler’s sorting solutions are enabling our customers to address this challenge and help bring an end to the “throw-away society”.


Plastic proportion

1 mio.
Bottles per minute
One million plastic bottles are now bought worldwide every single minute. This figure is expected to see a 20% rise by 2021.
14 %
Recycling rate
Only around 14% of PET bottles are recycled. The remaining 86% go to landfill and the sea, where they can take up to 50 years to degrade.
8 mio.
Some 8 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans each year. The impact on marine life is devasting, with many species facing extinction as a result.

Optimum sorting solutions

PET is a versatile product. It is lightweight, durable, strong – and highly recyclable. However, recycled PET needs to be of high purity for use in food and drink packaging, and most recycled plastics are a mix of many different materials. They need to be separated and the contaminants removed. This is where Bühler’s innovative sorting technologies are helping our customers to achieve maximum value.

SORTEX N PolyVision and SORTEX A/B range machines form a two-machine solution able to deliver bottle-grade PET flakes at the highest yield on the market. The solution sorts by the plastic's color and the chemical signature, dramatically improving the accuracy and speed of the process. It ensures that the fewest possible valuable PET flakes are lost and cuts contamination to below 50 parts per million. The SORTEX A/B range use three visible wavelengths for optimum color sorting. SORTEX N PolyVision, meanwhile, removes materials that cannot be detected by the human eye such as clear PVC. The machines can accurately separate valuable material from waste, polymers and foreign materials, whatever the composition or contamination level. This allows our customers to maximize their recovery, purity and processing capabilities.

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