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Together with Austrian packaging expert ALPLA, KHS Group has developed a returnable PET container that weighs just 55 grams, and can be blown on KHS stretch blow molders for returnable containers.

The 1-litre bottle’s recyclate content of 35 per cent also has a very positive effect on its overall eco-balance.

KHS Group bottles and shapes product manager Arne Wiese
KHS Group bottles and shapes product manager Arne Wiese

KHS Group bottles and shapes product manager Arne Wiese said with this development, the company is adhering to its maxim of “reduce and recycle”.

“We aimed to produce a returnable container system that’s as environmentally friendly as possible. Two parameters are of prime importance here: low weight and a high percentage of recyclate,” Wiese said.

By optimising the bottle base and neck the packaging experts managed to considerably cut down on weight compared to conventional returnable PET containers.

At 55 grams, on average the bottle is 10 grams lighter than its standard counterparts. Compared to glass containers, it clocks up just one tenth of the weight on the scales.

“This optimisation means that the amount of material used is much lower. At the same time, fuel consumption and thus also carbon dioxide emissions drop during transportation,” Wiese said. Both have a positive effect on the bottle’s eco-balance.

Despite less use of materials, the returnable system is ideal for a high circulation. The PET bottle has good resistance to caustic, meaning that its quality and appearance are maintained even after numerous washing cycles.

The aspects of easy recyclability and the use of recyclate also played a major role in the bottle’s development.

The environmentally friendly, returnable container is not only fully recyclable and thus remains in the recycling loop. Its high recyclate content is also compelling.

“We’ve had outstanding test results with preforms made of up to 35 per cent recycled materials; preforms containing 50 per cent recyclate are also feasible for some brands,” Wiese said.

The PET system devised by KHS and ALPLA therefore more than satisfies the European Commission’s requirement that one-way PET bottles comprise 30 per cent recyclate by 2030.

The optimised preforms can be blown on all KHS stretch blow molders for returnable containers. These include the particularly resource-saving InnoPET Blomax Series V. The new packaging system is suitable for all types of beverage in the returnable container segment.

“We’re convinced that we can place our ecofriendly PET bottle on the market quickly and successfully. Our aim is to implement the market launch in close cooperation with bottling companies,” Wiese said.

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