Building on its know-how in the area of PET recycling and refinement, Starlinger said it spent years developing and refining the process technology for the production of fabric from PET flakes. Initial trials were performed with virgin material, and the next step involved the use of recycled PET (rPET pellets).
After successful trials, Starlinger moved on to produce tapes, and consequently fabric, from PET bottle flakes. The fabric used for the golden FIBC (the golden colour results from the use of beer bottles) is manufactured on a tape extrusion line type starEX 1600 PF with twinTAPE precision cross winders and circular weaving looms type FX.
According to Starlinger, the use of PET has many advantages. “Heavy-duty fabrics benefit from the extreme resistance and shape stability of PET (the material maintains its modulus and strength at temperatures up to 80 degC176 degF, and has excellent creep resistance),” it stated.
The firm added that bags made from PET are not only durable, but are also recyclable. After their use, PET bags may be recycled and reused in packaging production.
“The use of PET in bag production is no substitution for PP, but it will open new markets to our customers due to the environmentally friendly nature and low-carbon footprint of bags produced with our technology,” said Reinhard Lechner, product manager PET applications at Starlinger.
“Especially brand owners and blue chip companies recognise the need to include recycled material in their packaging.”
This trend is visible in the United States. In 2015, the collection rate of PET bottles was at 31.1 %, according to the US National Postconsumer Plastic Bottle Recycling Report, and organisations like the Ellen MacArthur Foundation support businesses and governments in their transition to a circular economy. Starlinger said aims to contribute to these efforts, and that, by the end of 2018, rPET fabric will be commercially available on the market in Europe and America.
Pictured: Starlinger presents its golden FIBC made from PET (beer) bottle flakes. (L-R): Michelle Diaz-Kotti (American Starlinger-Sahm), Lewis Anderson (FIBCA), Reinhard Lechner (Starlinger).