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Environmentally friendly options being pushed by government restrictions and increased customer pressure to embrace sustainable corporate practices are likely to be the drivers of the recycled plastics industry in North America. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of how plastic products harm the environment, and consider plastic recyclability as well as the chance of the plastic item ending up in a landfill. Packaging has emerged as a significant influencer of purchase decisions of socially aware consumers.
While the government is making efforts to encourage plastic recycling, firms themselves have shown commitment to adopt recycled plastics. For example, in 2020, The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced funding to the tune of over UDS $27 million for twelve projects aimed at advancing modern plastics recycling technologies. According to Coca-Cola in 2019, approximately 88 percent of its packaging goods were made of recycled plastics; the company aims to reach 100 percent by 2025. Walmart increased the percentage of PCR (post-consumer resin) used in its private label packaging in North America from nearly 7% in 2019 to nearly 9% in 2020, and aims to accomplish 20% PCR in North America and 17% globally by 2025.
In 2021, Coca-Cola Trademark brands (Coke, Diet Coke, Coke Zero Sugar, Coca-Cola Flavors) announced the introduction of a 13.2-oz. bottle made of 100% recycled PET (rPET) plastic in USA to encourage recycling and the creation of a circular economy.
In 2021, the Consortium of Carbios, L’Oréal, Nestlé Waters, PepsiCo and Suntory Beverage & Food Europe, announced the successful manufacture of the world’s first food-grade PET plastic bottles made completely from enzymatically recycled plastic. The revolutionary enzymatic PET recycling method developed by Carbios allows a wide range of PET plastics to be recycled into virgin-quality, food-grade rPET.
PET (polyethylene terephthalate) is commonly used to make soft drink bottles as well as food and beverage containers. PET is also used to make sutures, implantable textiles, and angioplasty balloon tubing. The PET segment is predicted to lead the recycled plastics market in North America.
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