Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) was used for some 40% of beverage containers worldwide in 2010. Europe processed
2.4 million tonnes of virgin PET for this use, with the requirement expected to increase by 2% per year. Production and
use of PET results in the depletion of natural resources, and the generation of packaging waste. PET is the main
polymer that must be addressed to achieve the EU plastics recycling target of 50% of plastics from households by
2020. Processing 1 tonne of PET per hour requires (for the blowing) 600 KW of power in a two-stage process, and
results in the production of 50 000 containers/hr. The process also consumes hydraulic oil, which is difficult to dispose
of. In addition, certain drinks (e.g. tea, fruit juices, milk) require container sterilisation, which is energy intensive and
uses water and toxic chemicals. New processes that address these issues are needed to improve the environmental
performance of PET production.