The concept behind the sustainable packaging sounds simple enough, yet it is a unique proposition. Austria's school milk producers supply schools and kindergartens directly with dairy products in rPET cups. The children consume the drinks during recess, then the used cups are gathered and returned for recycling to the school milk producers. Once collected, these cups are picked up from the farm, washed, and shredded. The resulting flakes are then cleaned and processed. As was the case for the first time before Christmas, the extruded rPET sheet is subsequently used at Greiner Packaging to thermoform new rPET cups, which are then refilled by the farmers and delivered once again to schools and kindergartens. This closed loop releases over 30% less CO2 than reusable glass bottles, which are significantly heavier.
Recycling the cups also requires less energy than processing reusable glassware, for instance, and produces less waste. The reason the cups can be recycled so easily is that they are unprinted and made from 100% monomaterial. The recycling loop for rPET makes it a material with a promising future. And as things stand, recycled PET is the only post-consumer secondary plastic approved for food applications in the EU. The white rPET packaging can be reprocessed into food packaging, making it the ideal recyclable packaging solution for dairy products.