Plastic bottles may require a deposit

A bottled water maker is exploring ways to get more bottles recycled

Deposits on PET bottles may be introduced. Currently, there is a deposit on some glass bottles but not on plastic.

Water bottling company Karlovarské minerální vody is considering introducing deposits on PET bottles, several news outlets reported.

The company wants to convince the public to return as many bottles as possible for recycling. Currently, there is voluntary recycling in Prague with canisters on the street for sorted waste. But the system was set up years ago, and different types of plastics are all collected together, while PET is the most desirable type of plastic for recycling.

Nationwide, some 70 percent of PET bottles are recycled. Out of 55,000 tons of PET bottles that have been put on the market in recent years, about 16,000 tons remain outside the recycling system in landfills or as litter.

But in other countries such as Sweden and Germany that have deposits, the return rate is up to 98 percent.

Karlovarské minerální vody has teamed up with the University of Chemistry and Technology (VŠCHT) and the Institute of Circular Economy (INCIEN) to look for ways to improve bottle recycling and to see if a deposit would make economic sense.

Karlovarské minerální vody CEO Alessandro Pasquale did not specify how large a deposit people should pay. For beer bottles, it is currently Kč 3 per bottle. Pasquale said that in Western Europe, the price per bottle was the equivalent of Kč 5–8. He added that there was an additional advantage that the company would get back “good, clean bottles.”

PET can be recycled into fibers for carpets, roofing tiles, and other plastic-based products.

New technology in part developed in the Czech Republic at the Academy of Sciences allows for PET to be broken down into its chemical components and re-formed into new PET bottles. Previously, making PET bottles out of recycled PET was difficult due to contaminants from the products stored in the bottles.

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is the most common thermoplastic polymer resin of the polyester family. The plastic for the bottle is derived from petroleum. Bottles account for 30 percent of PET demand. In a landfill, it would take a PET bottle up to 500 years to break down.

The European Union is now finalizing rules that call for a mandatory recycling rate, with 55 percent of plastic having to be recycled.

In the Czech Republic, Karlovarské minerální vody is the market leader in the segment of natural and flavored packaged waters. In 2017, the KMV Group took over Quadrant Beverages JSC, which is the official producer and seller of PepsiCo products such as Pepsi, Mirinda, 7UP and Evervess, and Pepsi-Lipton International product such as Lipton Ice Tea.

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