Leading companies from food, drink and consumer goods giants to waste management, packaging and recycling specialists are joining forces with BP to help tackle plastic waste.
Britvic, Danone and Unilever, along with Alpla and Remondis, are teaming up with BP to form a consortium.
By joining forces, the members believe they can speed up the commercialization of the technology, infrastructure and demand needed to keep PET plastic products in the loop.
In particular, they will work to speed BP's recycling technology to market to target the difficult-to-recycle plastic food trays and coloured bottles that are currently disposed of each year.
BP Infinia is an enhanced recycling technology designed to turn opaque and difficult-to-recycle PET plastic waste into recycled feedstocks that can be used to make new, high-quality PET plastic packaging again and again, with no loss in quality.
With conventional methods, difficult-to recycle PET plastic waste can degrade in quality each time it is recycled.
The consortium will combine the capabilities and experience of its members to develop a new circular approach to dealing with PET plastic waste.
PET is a plastic widely used for rigid food packaging and drinks, personal care and homecare bottles. It is a lightweight, durable and versatile material.
Rita Griffin, BP chief operating officer for petrochemicals
Marc Engel, Unilever’s chief supply chain officer, said: “Joining this consortium is an investment in the future of recycling technology, which is critical to keeping plastic in the loop. By working together, we can help accelerate the industry towards a circular economy.”
Rita Griffin is BP chief operating officer for petrochemicals. She said: “This is an exciting step towards a circular economy for the polyester industry. BP is experienced in developing and scaling-up technology and we’ll do this again with our innovative BP Infinia process. But, we know we cannot create circularity on our own.
“That’s why we are thrilled to be working together with industry leaders to develop and prove a practical business model that can hopefully contribute to making all types of polyester waste infinitely recyclable.”
In October, BP announced that it aims to prove its Infinia technology on a continuous basis at a $25 million pilot plant in Naperville, US, which it plans to construct in 2020, as the next step towards full-scale commercialization.