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[GreenYes] PET Bottle-to-Bottle Recycling
    This month's issue of Environmental Packaging ("Two New PET Recycling
Technologies to Be Launched in U.S.," 11/01) contains an article on new
developments that will expand RPET demand for upgrading to the more
exacting -- and better paying -- beverage bottle market standards.

    One is a chemical process called Renew being developed in the U.S. by an
Italian company, M&G, and the other is another physical process by Erema,
both of which are claiming superior economics for producing RPET for
beverage bottles and immenent commercialization than current systems.  M&G's
new West Viginia plant is near-operational and they indicated to the
reporter that they now plan to produce 50,000 MT of RPET annually beginning
in 2002. My information indicates that they they are already sourcing supply
so this is probably not just another blue sky story.

    I would note that this would represent 110 million pounds of bottle
grade resin, compared to the 769 million pounds of PET recycled into all
products in 2000, and more than the 104 million pounds of RPET that was made
back into bottles in that year.  Clearly, it would seem we are seeing the
market concretely respond to the Coca-Cola 10% recycled content initiative
in a major way that can be expected to be reflected in higher prices for our
local programs on two counts:

        First, due to greater aggregate demand, and
        Second, due to the fact that a greater proportion of total demand is
for markets that pay approximately 7 cents more per pound than the
historically predominant fiber markets.

    Erema is indicated as having received FDA approval for its physical
reycling technology for food applications. The company indicates that they
will have a plant with the process coming on line in mid-2002. No expected
volumes are stated. I'll try and check that out myself later.

    The importance of the turnaround in the mindset in Atlanta to our
fortunes cannot be underestimated. Ten years ago under Wall Street legend
CEO Roberto Goizueta, the soft drink giant boasted of its reputation with
recyclers (and others) of "killing mothers and first born for five bucks a
thousand" (i.e. resisting any changes that would cost even one-half cent per
bottle).  But last week at Plastic News' Encounter Conference in Atlanta,
Coke's Ben Jordon stated that one of the reasons for the company's new
public spirited approach was public pressure. Hats off to GRRN and the
socially responsible investor groups who helped make this happen.  But, I
don't think, either, we can ignore the breath of fresh air brought into the
top rungs of management by new CEO Doug Daft.  Were that Pepsi to step up to
the plate, too -- instead of attempting to curtail the recycled content
already in existing beverage lines that they recently acquired -- then
things could really take off for PET recycling's economics.


Peter Anderson
4513 Vernon Blvd. Suite 15
Madison, WI 53705
(608) 231-1100
Fax (608) 233-0011

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