It is well known that mechanical plastic recycling companies struggle with processing coloured PET plastic bottles, forcing them to use optical sorters to separate coloured from clear. This is less of an issue for chemical recyclers whose processes and technologies can remove the dyes (colour) during the process. Nevertheless, irrespective of whether you are a mechanical or chemical recycler, the fact colour bottles are present inherently means more complexity, hence more cost needed to remove or separate out the colour. This move by Coca-Cola is a tremendous step in the right direction.
We at perPETual have always felt that the use of colour in bottles is unnecessary, just as the use of single-use plastic straws is unnecessary. Our focus in recent years has been processing clear bottles, with hopes that large brands such as Coca-Cola would step forward and make a material difference while driving change with their sustainable strategies and goals.
Imagine a world where personal preference does not outweigh the less environmentally damaging choice, especially when there is a more viable and sustainable alternative. If coloured bottles are banned it will make life easier and more cost-effective for both mechanical and chemical recyclers who need to work together to tackle the growing problem of 660 Billion plastic bottles used worldwide per year.