Recyclable plastic bottles – Decreasing water use in the brewery and soft drink industry
By using recyclable plastic bottles we can save energy and water in the brewery and soft drink industry.
In the Finnish brewery and soft drink industry recyclable plastic bottles are already widely used. Especially in the soft drink industry most of the old glass and plastic returnable bottles have been replaced with recyclable plastic bottles, so called PET- bottles.
PET- bottles environmentally friendly status is based on their material. Bottles are made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) which is a very easily reusable plastic material. Used bottles are grinded. New recyclable plastic bottles can be made from colorless grind. Colored grind is used in manufacturing other plastic products, for example packages and strings.
In breweries and soft drink plants using these PET- bottles primarily saves water, detergents and disinfection chemicals. When the old returnable plastic bottles were used lots of water was wasted during the cleansing process. Naturally large amounts of detergents and disinfection chemicals were also used. This kind of cleansing process doesn’t only waste water but also contaminates wastewaters.
So, would it be possible to replace all returnable bottles with PET- bottles? Is it even worthwhile? It is true that using PET-bottles saves water and their material is easily recyclable, but still, no one tells how much energy is used in the grinding process without speaking of the bottle blowing process which needs quite high temperatures and pressures.
So, this is a Challenge directed to the plastics industry. It would be fair for the customers to know how big the PET-bottles “green footmark” really is and whether it is it bigger or smaller than old returnable bottles?
Research question: But how about other energy use? Wasting or saving?