Technological watch

Starlinger & PAAG: Scaling up PET bottle-to-bottle recycling in Türkiye

PAAG, a member of Bell Holding A.?., installed a Starlinger recoSTAR PET 165 HC iV+ PET bottle-to-bottle recycling line with a production capacity of up to 1,800 kg/h in its Gebze facility in Kocaeli near Istanbul. The line has taken up operation in mid-March 2024.

Advertisement By investing in bottle-to-bottle recycling, PAAG aims to reduce the demand for virgin plastic, minimize the carbon footprint, and promote a more sustainable approach to packaging. “We entered the Bottle-to-Bottle recycling market with a firm commitment to advancing sustainability and making a positive impact on the environment”, said Bekir Ökteno?lu, Vice Chairman, PAAG. “Recognizing the urgent global issue of climate change, we saw an opportunity to contribute to a circular economy by transforming used plastic bottles into new, high-quality bottles.”

PAAG aims to process approximately 1,200 tons of collected PET bottles per month. The recycled PET is mainly supplied to SENAPA STAMPA, a sister company within the Bell Holding. This is part of the Holding’s integrated approach to sustainability with the aim of reducing the collective environmental footprint by incorporating recycled PET into their own supply chain. In addition, PAAG sells recycled PET to external customers.

The proven track record, state-of-the-art technology, compliance with industry standards, energy efficiency, and commitment to innovation are the key arguments why PAAG decided to install a PET bottle-to-bottle recycling line from Starlinger, the company said. “Starlinger's cutting-edge technology aligns with PAAG's dedication to deliver premium recycled materials, reducing environmental impact, and promoting sustainability within the packaging industry. This strategic partnership reflects PAAG's vision for a more sustainable and environmentally conscious future”, said Bekir Ökteno?lu. “Moreover, Starlinger's PET recycling process holds approvals by EFSA and FDA for food-grade rPET production, ensuring that the recycled PET materials adhere to the highest standards of safety and quality. This aligns seamlessly with PAAG's commitment to deliver not only sustainable but also food-safe packaging solutions, reinforcing our dedication to excellence in the packaging industry.”

For bottle collection, PAAG itself has set up a door-to-door collection system named ‘To-Ka’ for PET bottles from end consumers. In addition, collection points have been established through collaborations with recycling partners and community organizations, and eco-friendly transportation methods are used for transporting the collected post-consumer PET bottles. Upon arrival at the recycling facility, the PET bottles undergo a meticulous sorting and cleaning process to remove contaminants before the shredded and washed bottles are processed into high-quality recycled PET pellets at the Starlinger recoSTAR PET 165 HC iV+ system. Starlinger’s super-clean PET recycling process as well as PAAG’s rigid quality assurance program ensures that the recycled material meets and even exceeds industry standards.

The PAAG management and staff in front of Starlinger’s recoSTAR PET 165 HC iV+ PET bottle-to-bottle recycling line in PAAG’s recycling facility in Gebze, Türkiye. (©PAAG) Drivers for environmental awarenessWhile the Turkish government has taken steps to address environmental issues including plastic waste, the setting in the country is dynamic, and specific incentives vary. As of now, both government initiatives and private businesses like PAAG contribute to foster environmental awareness and plastic waste collection in Türkiye. Private businesses often are driven by corporate responsibility and sustainability goals and take proactive measures to address environmental challenges. PAAG's commitment to recycling PET bottles and contributing to a circular economy is an example of how private enterprises can be drivers of positive environmental impact. The afore mentioned waste collection and management initiative named ‘To-Ka’ is a project voluntarily created and initiated by PAAG. ‘To-Ka’ stands for ‘topla – kazan’ (‘collect – win’) and aims to actively engage citizens and corporate entities in plastic waste collection through a reward system. Individuals as well as businesses can return collected PET bottles via reverse vending machines strategically placed in areas with high visitor traffic such as gas stations, supermarkets and stores via the ‘To-Ka’ app. Through the app, citizens also can inform PAAG waste collectors to pick up the collected PET bottles at the doorstep. Either way they earn a certain amount of points for every bottle, which is credited to the ‘To-Ka’ app. The accumulated points can be used for payment at POS systems in cafés, retail shops, etc. or donated. The ‘To-Ka’ project has been in operation since May 2023 in the Greater Istanbul area. As the next step, the roll-out in 15 other major cities in Türkiye is planned.

“PAAG remains dedicated to its role as a responsible corporate entity, aligning its practices with environmental goals and contributing to the broader efforts to manage plastic waste in Türkiye”, said Bekir Ökteno?lu. “Circular economy is our compass. We believe that by actively participating in the bottle-to-bottle recycling market, PAAG can play a pivotal role in fostering a circular economy, creating a more sustainable future, and inspiring others in the industry to embrace environmentally friendly practices.”

Publication date: 23/04/2024

PETnology (Recycling)

This project has been co-funded with the support of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union [LIFE17 ENV/ES/000438] Life programme

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Last update: 2022-01-31