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Lighter Weight & PCR Content in Multi-Trip PET Bottles

Refillable PET bottles are a significant factor in Mexico and parts of Latin America, as well as in Germany. This development combines 15% lightweighting with 35% recycle content.


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German machine builder KHS Group and Austrian-based packaging leader Alpla (which has 181 production facilities in 46 countries, including 17 U.S. plants) have collaborated in developing a 1 L returnable PET bottle that is said to be unusually light and also contains 35% post-consumer recycled resin. The new bottle weighs 55 g, or 10 g less than the average for returnable PET bottles of this size, according to KHS. Using up to 50% recycle is also feasible for some brands, the company states, adding that the bottle “is suitable for all types of beverage in the returnable container segment,” including both carbonated and noncarbonated drinks.

Lightweight refillable 1L PET bottle from KHS and Alpla has 35% recycle content.

Lightweight refillable 1L PET bottle from KHS and Alpla has 35% recycle content. Multi-trip PET bottles are a significant presence in Germany, Mexico, and parts of South America.

Sources at major PET resin producers say there is a strong market for refillable PET bottles in Mexico and some parts of South America, and it is growing faster than the market for one-way PET bottles. However, the total usage of refillable PET bottles in the Americas is less than 1% of the regional total. Infrastructure for returning, cleaning and refilling PET bottles is not in place in North America. In Europe, Germany is said to be the main user of refillable PET bottles. They are not a significant factor in the UK, France, Spain and Benelux countries.

Refillable bottles weigh considerably more than one-way PET bottles. For example, a one-way 2 L carbonated soft-drink bottle today weighs around 45 g and a 1.5 L CSD bottle weighs 24 g. Even a 64-oz hot-fill PET bottle is down to 59 g.