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rPET goals: Indorama puts its money where its mouth is

Thai chemicals company Indorama Ventures is investing 33 billion Baht (EUR 1.35 billion) into the recycling of its PET resin, Reuters has reported.

Indorama creates polymers and fibres used to manufacture plastic bottles, seat belts and tyres. It produced almost five million tonnes of PET in the 12 months to July. The investment will support recycling efforts over the next five years, says chief executive Aloke Lohia.

The funds are meant to cover greenfield and brownfield mergers and acquisitions focusing on bottle-to-bottle recycling. Indorama currently has 11 recycling sites around the world, including plants in Thailand, Mexico and France.

Lohia notes that Indorama is investing US$ 500 million by 2025 to help its EU-based customers achieve the mandatory 25% target for inclusion of recycled PET in plastic bottles. These customers represent roughly 30% of Indorama’s annual revenue. ‘There is infrastructure in the world to recycle PET. The problem lies in the collection,’ the entrepreneur adds.  

‘As the world’s largest manufacturer of PET packaging, Indorama realises its role in encouraging sustainable and safe use of plastics,’ comments company vice president Richard Jones. He acknowledges that Thailand still prohibits the use of recycled PET in food and beverage packaging.

A total of 185 000 tons of PET beverage bottles made from virgin plastic were supplied to the Thai market last year; less than half of these were collected for recycling.

‘As an exporter of rPET pellets, we can guarantee the advances in cleansing, sanitising and sterilising technologies of a global standard in the current recycling process,’ Jones underlines. ‘Also, rPET has been used in many countries such as the United States of America, the European Union countries and Japan for several years — and it is time for Thailand to also evaluate this.’

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