Updated: May 12, 2020
As of today May 11th the spread between virgin PET prices and recycled colourless PET flake prices is 230€. Unprecedented.
With the pandemic still around the recycling industry is looking at the only saviour - big brands - and their commitments made towards recycled goods and PCR (post-consumer-recycled) content.
Industry dynamic - COVID 19
Over the last two month we have seen an interesting dynamic in recycling shaped by the virus and the different measures set agains the spread. Social distancing and working from home has changed how and what we consume as well as our habits for returning waste into our collection systems.
While food related packaging became even more important than before, the demand for other goods such as furniture, clothes, toys, flower pots where large amounts of PCR was used in production experience devastating losses.
Three factors hurting the recycling industry
The recycling industry is hurt by multiple factors only one being the drastic fall on demand.
At the same time it is hurt by the massive drop in oil prices leading to a spread of 230€ driving manufacturers towards decreasing PCR content to as low as 0%.
The third factor is the sourcing of the material - while virgin PET is highly available on the market PCR materials are much harder to source as people are collecting at home rather then returning to the collection systems thereby reducing feedstock.
So the question emerges why should anyone remain using R-PET?
This is when it comes to big brands and their commitments and values. This is the time when the strength of commitments will be tested. This is the time we will see whether values are more important then profits and margins. We believe that this industry dynamic will be a huge test for recyclers, manufacturers as well as the end users. Well-known brands have committed to increase PCR levels up to 100% by 2025. This year might be a setback although there is no sign of it from big players for now.
We stands for recycling. We believe that waste must be solved collectively. Waste must be recycled, consumption should be reduced and materials with the best attributes have to be selected for circular economy applications. We believe in design with circularity in mind. Waste is a big problem of this century, at Plastikon we have committed to closing the gap on PET by producing recycled rPET films.
We change how people think about waste - This is what we do.