Using recycled PET – or rPET – as a raw material and turning it into new bottles has a technical term: bottle-to-bottle recycling
. It requires special recycling facilities, such as the MetaPure bottle-to-bottle recycling
plant of the machinery and equipment manufacturers Krones. The first thing that happens in the manufacturing process is that the old bottles are sorted by colour and then cleaned, melted and turned into small flakes. Coloured flakes can then be turned either into new bottles or indeed serve as a filler for soft toys or as the base material for making film. White flakes, on the other hand, can be turned into textile fibres for T-shirts, fleeces and indeed for fabric bags and fabrics used in technical applications, e.g. carpet fabric, geotextiles and agrotextiles in construction and agriculture. The bags, normally made in industry from polypropylene or polyethylene, can also be made from PET banded fabric, virgin PET material or recycled PET pellets, and this is what the Austrian mechanical engineering company Starlinger
has done since 2013. rPET banded fabric is now made directly from PET bottle flakes. This means that manufacturers of woven packaging can work with a closed production cycle.