Returnable PET: too good for niche applications
Whether it’s legal requirements, self-imposed climate targets or rising levels of eco-awareness among consumers: The aspect of sustainability is gaining more and more importance when it comes to choosing a packaging. “Which type of packaging scores highest against ecological criteria depends on a large number of factors and must be assessed afresh for each individual application,” explains Martina Birk, the officer responsible for the enviro sustainability program at Krones. But what is noteworthy in this context is that returnable PET containers are often not even considered. “But they do in fact boast an extremely attractive ecological footprint, especially when they are distributed mainly in the region where the drink is produced,” emphasises Martina Birk.
Bottle samples and cleaning processes tested
Krones and Alpla joined forces to harness these advantages for a broad range of beverages. “Returnable PET containers have so far been used primarily for carbonated soft drinks and water,” explains Jörg Schwärzler, a returnables expert and project manager at Alpla. “ But we were quite sure that if we were to synergise our expertise in the fields of materials science, preform design, container design and systems engineering, we’d also find a suitable solution for sensitive beverages likes juices or dairy products. A 38-millimetre neck finish offers special advantages for sensitive returnable-container applications.”