Is there such a thing as ‘Good Plastic’?

Is there such a thing as 'Good Plastic'?

We have all heard about “bad” plastic, but what about “good” plastic?

“Bad” plastic is that which is used once and isn’t recycled, like straws and polystyrene food containers, which end up in the landfill after one use.

“Good” plastic is recyclable several times before ending up in things like fabric, guttering and doormats. This is PET and RPET, RPET being recycled PET. They are the same type of plastic (technical name is polyethylene terephthalate) and both have a recycling code of 1, the most desirable.

PET vs RPET – which one is best?

There is a key difference between the two. While PET is recyclable, it is made from what is called “below ground” materials, i.e. it has been made using the by-products of crude oil or natural gas, and is referred to as “virgin”.

RPET, on the other hand, has been made by recycling existing material, either PET or RPET. These are referred to as “above ground” materials.

f you are a food manufacturer or horticulturist, which would you and your customers prefer? We are picking most prefer RPET as it has already been recycled, possibly more than once.

Where do you get RPET containers in New Zealand?

Several plastics manufacturers in New Zealand already use RPET, however not all RPET is the same. Currently, there are no regulations governing the proportion of recycled content required for a product to be called RPET. It may be made from 100% PET, proportions of PET and RPET, or 100% RPET. Preferably, it should be 100% RPET.

Ask your supplier what their containers are made of, especially if you would prefer them to be 100% RPET. Suppliers are out there, they will be happy to discuss your requirements and should provide documentation of the type of material used, if asked. Most will promote this proudly.

Did you know about this?

Balloons are bad news for the planet, so think twice before decorating a birthday party with them. They can’t be recycled and don’t break down in landfill. It is even worse when they are filled with helium (an almost exhausted, non-renewable resource), because they can escape and end up in the ocean.

Read more about RPET.


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