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Coca-Cola European Partners invests in PET recycling start-up

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Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) has invested in recycling start-up Cure Technology, in an attempt to eliminate virgin oil-based PET from its packaging within the next decade. The funding, which was made through the firm’s investment fund CCEP Ventures, will be used to support the commercialisation of the start-up’s ‘polyester rejuvenation’ technology, which aims to provide a new method of recycling plastic polyester waste.
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According to Cure, its partial depolymerisation process allows the removal of many impurities and the conversion of food grade PET to high-quality rPET, that can be used again for food and drink packaging. Following its commercialisation, CCEP will receive the majority of the output from a Cure -licensed, new-build plant. It will reportedly enable one continuous process on the same site, which can be less energy intensive than full depolymerisation and offers lower associated C02 emissions. CCEP, in partnership with Coca Cola Western Europe, intends to eliminate virgin oil-based PET from its PET bottles, which will see the removal of over 200,000 tonnes of virgin oil-based PET from its packaging portfolio a year. Josse Kunst, chief commercial officer at Cure Technology, said: “Polyester is one of the world’s most reversible plastics and should not go to waste. In the pilot plant phase of the Cure process, we were supported with a subsidy from the European Union and the three northern provinces of the Netherlands. “Now our ambition to create an energy-efficient solution for product to product polyester transformation will be accelerated because of this funding. The support of CCEP Ventures will enable us to start with opaque and difficult to recycle food grade PET and take the first step towards our ultimate vision of recycling all polyester, again and again.” The investment marks a step by CCEP towards 100% recycled PET for its plastic bottles and supports the transition to a circular economy for PET packaging. Nick Brown, head of sustainability at CCEP Great Britain, said: “We know that we have a key role to play in supporting the on-going development of a successful and effective recycling industry. “That’s why we’ve invested in numerous recycling technologies and partnerships over the years, from when we first began using recycled PET in our bottles in the 1990’s, to our joint venture with Clean Tech UK in 2012, to more recently partnering with Loop Industries and Ioniqa to turn post-consumer PET into food-grade recycled PET. “From later this year all of our bottles will contain 50% rPET, and this partnership with Cure marks another significant milestone in our ambition to achieve a world without waste.”

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