PET recycling: Coke PET recycling facility launched in Namibia; Carbios breaks ground on PET biorecycling plant in France

Coke PET recycling facility launched in Namibia

A US$1.2million investment through a partnership between Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) in Namibia and Plastic Packaging has culminated in the opening of a new polyethylene terephthalate (PET) flaking plant in Okahandja which will double the capacity of the only mechanical recycler of plastic waste in the country.

The completion of this recycling facility will enable Namibia Polymer Recyclers (NPR), a subsidiary of Plastic Packaging, to recycle up to 500 tonnes/month.

The recycling plant transforms discarded beverage bottles made from PET material into PET flakes with an international market value. The flaking process of post-consumer PET bottles involves sorting, shredding it into PET flakes, hot-washing and drying of flakes, which are then sent for further processing into recycled PET pellets and other end-uses.

This reduces the need to use virgin PET, while diverting waste from landfills and the environment.

“The Coca-Cola system aims to drive systemic change through a circular economy for packaging. We are leading the industry to help collect and recycle a bottle or can for every one we sell by 2030. We have a responsibility to help solve complex plastic waste challenges facing our planet and society, and we’re leveraging our scale and reach to achieve our sustainability goals and reduce packaging waste,” said CCBA Chief Public Affairs, Communication and Sustainability Officer, Tshidi Ramogase.

Ramogase added, “We are investing in infrastructure and exploring ways to support additional recycled PET capacity in each of the regions where we operate. These investments not only provide a source of recycled content for our packaging but also create additional demand for empty packages, driving increased collection.”

CCBA is the 8th largest Coca-Cola bottling partner in the world by revenue, and the largest on the continent. It accounts for over 40% of all Coca-Cola products sold in Africa by volume. With over 18,000 employees in Africa, CCBA services more than 720,000 customers with a host of international and local brands. The group was formed in July 2016 after the successful combination of the southern and east Africa bottling operations of the non-alcoholic ready-to-drink beverages businesses of The Coca-Cola Company, SABMiller plc and Gutsche Family Investments.

Carbios breaks ground on PET biorecycling plant in France

In other news, bio-technology developer Carbios says it has marked a significant milestone with what it claims to be the world's first PET biorecycling plant, located in Longlaville, in the Grand-Est region of France. The facility will offer an industrial-scale solution for the enzymatic depolymerisation of PET waste, with a processing capacity of 50 kilotonnes/year of prepared waste when operating at full capacity. Work is progressing on schedule with significant quantities delivered to customers in 2026.

The plant is strategically located close to the borders with Belgium, Germany, and Luxembourg, providing easy access to waste supplies. 

Carbios secured the necessary building and operating permits for the site in October 2023 and partnered with De Smet Engineers & Contractors to manage the construction. 

The site for the factory was officially acquired from Indorama Ventures in February 2024, with construction currently underway. 

The company has established numerous agreements, including those with CITEO and Landbell Group, to supply the required feedstock at the plant.  

According to Carbios, the plant will play a crucial role in tackling plastic pollution, by offering a solution for the enzymatic depolymerisation of PET waste. 

The company’s enzymatic biorecycling technology offers up new recycling streams for multilayer, coloured and opaque trays, which are little or non-recyclable currently. It will be able to process prepared PET waste per year (equivalent to 2 billion coloured bottles, 2.5 billion food trays or 300 million t-shirts).

The ground-breaking ceremony was attended by local authorities, partner brands, and industrial partners, all integral to Carbios's ecosystem.  


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