Thailand-based petrochemical giant Indorama Ventures Public Company Limited (IVL) started recycling PET bottles in 2011 and been going strong since. The company recently hit the 50 billion recycled PET bottle mark, it announced, averting circa 1.1 million tons from landfill, saving three million barrels of crude oil and eliminating 1.65 million tons of carbon.
To put this incredibly vast number of bottles into perspective, IVL has calculated that their weight – combined – would be the equivalent of over 200,000 elephants. Or, the company said, if they were all 500ml bottles laid end-to-end, they would stretch to the moon and back 15 times.
PET is one of the very few plastics that is fully recyclable, and suitable for use even for food applications. Food-grade recycled PET is approved by the FDA, Health Canada and the European Food Safety Authority, amongst others, which is why IVL has now also announced further investments in its recycling business- to the tune of up to US$ 1.5 billion - in order to expand its recycling infrastructure globally.
As part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, Indorama Ventures committed to increase its PET recycling capacity to 750,000 tons per year by 2025.
“In five years’ time we aim to recycle 50 billion bottles a year,” said Yashovardhan Lohia, Chief Recycling Officer at Indorama Ventures.
“No recyclable PET bottle should leak into our environment. We are building the recycling infrastructure the world needs. Our facilities close the loop and deliver a circular economy for PET bottles.”
IVL will be supporting and working with household brands to advance these plans in the short term. Just two weeks ago, on 9 March, for example, it announced a new joint venture with Coca-Cola that will build a recycling plant in the Philippines to produce food-grade recycled PET for new bottles in Southeast Asia. The plant is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.