Entering an arena where factory recyclers generally fear to tread, a local recycling firm has engaged in the somewhat unusual exercise of a recycled PET brand overhaul. In recognising the rising need to inspire both the public and packaging manufacturers to advocate the use of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resin in their food packaging, PETCO member Extrupet wants to kill two birds with one stone: increase market demand for the globally certified recycled food-grade PET it produces locally, and reduce the excess burden that used food packaging is placing on South Africa’s landfill sites.

But, says Extrupet chief operations officer Chandru Wadhwani, the rise in green consumer consciousness and a need for local consumer brands and their retailers to display better sustainability credentials, has justified the recycler’s investment in creating the PhoenixPET brand in 2012.

“Packaging is increasingly being recognised as a vital concern in any brand’s value chain – not only due to pressure from environmental NGOs, but also as sustainability reporting and the King III Guidelines place increasing emphasis on an environmentally conscious supply chain,” says Wadhwani.

“Every player in the massive global plastic industry has had to grapple with the environmental results of the world’s ever-increasing reliance on plastic products – perhaps more so in the fast-paced, once-off use food packaging industry.”

With PhoenixPET, Extrupet hopes to dispel local market myths about recycled food packaging. The good news is that PET is 100% recyclable, and not just once. Because of its properties and durability, PET can be recycled many times over.

PhoenixPET also meets the US FDA’s stringent food safety standards, and is already used in food packaging by top retailers in South Africa, such as Woolworths and Pick ‘n Pay. With PhoenixPET, Extrupet aims to achieve a minimum percentage of PhoenixPET used in all PET packaging and to establish pockets of new packaging made from 100% PhoenixPET, in the near future. Unilever also endorsed PhoenixPET by using it in their Sunlight bottles at present at 25%, with plans to increase this to 50% later this year. PhoenixPET is 100% hygienic and safe for food and beverage applications.

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