Żywiec Zdrój made a plastic bottle in 100 percent. from recycling

I received an e-mail from people from Żywiec Zdrój asking if I want to see how the first bottle of mineral water in Poland is created in 100 percent. made of recycled plastic. Sure, I wanted to.

I passed this plant many times and never even paid attention to it. IMP Polowat is located at my regular cycling route. I suspect that it did not say much to you, so I would like to add that the company is based in Bielsko-Biała.

At the invitation of the company Żywiec Zdrój, belonging to the group Danone, I went to see how rPET is created - a plastic bottle made in 100 percent. from recycled materials. It turned out that Żywiec raw material rPET (rPET is such a PET, only from recycling) is taking from the company IMP Polowat. It was a pleasant surprise for me - I found out that a plant works next door, which gives a second life to plastic waste.

The first bottle produced in 100 percent. made of recycled PET

The first bottle of mineral water in Poland, made exclusively from rPET, is a 5-liter bottle of water from Żywiec Zdrój.

It is the largest bottle of Żywiec that can be found on store shelves, and this means that it takes the most plastic to make it. However, these are bottles that are not sold particularly well - a 5-liter Baniak tank is only about 5%. sale of Żywiec. For comparison, a flagship product, a 1.5-liter bottle, is responsible for half the sale.

So you can praise Żywie for the fact that for the production of the largest bottle he uses only recycled plastic, but right away the question is asked - why Żywiec did not start the revolution from the production of rPET bottles that sell the most. And I asked about it. Answer: there is not enough rubbish in Poland. And to be more precise: there is too little segregated rubbish.

How a bottle is created in 100 percent with rPET?

A plastic bottles recycling plant purchases raw materials from waste collection and sorting entities. The bottles come to the plant in the form of compressed bales. The bales are loose - metal rods are removed with which they are fastened. Already at this stage, the employee evaluates the quality of the raw material. If it turns out that other types of plastic were pressed together with PET bottles, delivery may be returned to the seller.

If the raw material is in order, it passes through the washing stage and goes to the sorting cabin, where the bottles run on the belt, and two or three employees manually pick up what is not a PET material, e.g. PVC or pieces of wood or stones.

Selection is important because at the next stage the bottles are cut by the machines. If other materials came to them, it could lead to damage and line failure.

At the next stage, we do not deal with bottles anymore. Only the so-called flakes, which are then subjected to flotation separation (PET sinks, and other plastics float, eg those from labels), centrifugation, drying and dust removal. At the very end, PET is mechanically separated from other elements - they may be residual adhesives, impurities or particles of other materials.

At the very end, the material goes to the silos where it is stored. The silos are poured into the so-called big-bags, or huge sacks. At this stage. the acquisition of rPET is finished.

The material is ready for processing, e.g. into a re-granulated form. You can now create bottles from the regranulate on the injection molding machines. The bottles in the initial phase are very small - they resemble a sample tube. This bottle goes to the customer, a company that wants to fill it with something, where it is heated and pumped to the right shape.

The fight for the raw material continues

Just go for a walk to the park or forest, walk along the side of the road, dive into the river or lake or ... look inside the neighbor's stove to see that there are plenty of PET bottles in our surroundings. Unfortunately, they are missing where they should be - in yellow bins for waste (yellow bins for selective waste collection are designed for plastic and metal).

Only when we throw the bottle into a yellow bin, we can be sure that the sorting plant will be separated from other waste and packed into large packages that will be pressed. Further in the form of large bale, the raw material may eventually be put up for sale. Then it will be bought by IMP Polowat or one of several other companies that are involved in the production of rPET in Poland. If the garbage has been sorted well, bets have a chance to create high-quality rPET. And this is a straight way to successive bottles created in 100 percent. from recycling.

In the square in front of IMP Polowat, I saw a great sea of ​​plastic bales. It made an impression and it worked on the imagination. Later, I learned that these huge stocks only last a month for the plant's operation. And in the company's history there were also moments when the production line had to be stopped. There was not enough rubbish to process.

Żywiec Zdrój, in consultation with partners, decided to conduct activities aimed at making in 2025 in Poland over 90 percent. PET bottles were recycled. Today we recover only 35 percent. PET bottles. By comparison, in Germany and Norway, more than 90 percent is recovered.

So the goal is simple - in 6 years to catch up with the leaders of Europe.

It will not be easy. We have huge arrears and a lot of work to do. You have to talk and put pressure on the bottles to be placed, which can operate on a bail basis. In countries where this solution has been introduced, the problem of bottles disappears. The bottles also disappear from lawns, parks and rivers.

Żywiec wants to educate and show that the problem of the lack of segregation in Poland is huge. 72 percent The Poles assure that they segregate waste - a study by the Ministry of the Environment has shown. However, according to the GUS report, only 27 percent. households actually do it.

When representatives of Żywiec Zdrój spoke about this problem, I picked up a new, 5-liter bottle. I read the entire label and found only a small symbol of a man throwing trash in the bin - you probably think it because it is (almost) on each package. In my opinion, there was no clear instruction on how to handle rubbish. A large bottle is a large label - it could be used to educate consumers.

The client should know what to do with the waste. Can the bottle be thrown into the same basket as the cap? Do you have to break the label before discarding? What to do with it? Representatives of Żywiec Zdrój noted my suggestion and promised to discuss it in the company. So if in the future there will be specific instructions on Żywie bottles, and your neighbor will eventually sort out the rubbish, then ... you're welcome.

Żywiec Zdrój made a plastic bottle in 100 percent. from recycling


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