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[greenyes] Used plastic oil containers - sustainable options
Greetings Green Yes List:

I am hoping that listmembers may be able to give me some feedback or leads
on sustainable lubricant container packaging and container re-use and
reprocessing back into plastic. 

I have detailed my query in detail below and expand on each of the items
listed immediately as follows:

Aim of request
Constraints to overcome
Options identified
Specific request to you


The query relates to stewardship and sustainability of plastic
polypropylene (pp) containers used for distribution and sale of mineral
oils (in low volumes i.e. <20L). I am seeking your advice and input to
identify the range of options that may be available and any further leads
that you may have, especially given API's position in the oil industry. 

Specifically, I am aiming to identify and cost (+/-30%) options for the
environmentally-friendly supply of 18L polypropylene pails (i.e. sealable
container  and lid) in Australia. This supply of containers needs to
encompass sustainable production, re-use/recycling of the used pails.

The following constraints will need to be considered in any options:

·         The life cycle of the pails must be included in the options

·         There is a preference for using pp as the material to make the
pails (but will not be limited to this if cost effective alternative is

·         Any re-use, recycle or energy recovery option must be able to
accept mineral lubricating oil contamination up to 5% (i.e. the container

·       The containers will be shipped to numerous locations around
Australia (to be specified) and will need to be dropped off by customers,
collected and sent to recycler or re-user (or in a least preferred option,
energy recovery location).

·         Cost effectiveness of any option is critical.

The following options have already been identified in decreasing order of
·         Design containers that are environmentally friendly with take
back arrangement in supply contract

·         Re-use the used pails (e.g. a non-food supplier)

·         Recycle the used pails to make new plastic (i.e. either for new
oil containers or some other similar product)

·         Energy recovery from used containers

Design containers that are environmentally friendly with take back
arrangement in supply contract 

Find Container Suppliers who could manufacture such pails, incorporating
sustainable design, preferably in pp, and provide a service to take them
back as part of a stewardship agreement with the original supplier. Pails
will need to be 18L in capacity;

Re-use the used pails (e.g. a non-food supplier)

Other Liquid Suppliers/companies who would be interested in taking the used
pails and re-using them for refilling with their own product(s) and
re-selling. Would require a process that rinses the pails and enables them
to be re-used;

Recycle the used containers to make new plastic

Identify plastics recyclers who could take the pails and recycle them in
their existing process. This would include identifying technology suppliers
- who could take the pails and process them for recycling e.g. a portable

Energy recovery from used containers 

Energy recovery companies as least favourable case. I am interested to know
of any energy recovery plants in eastern Australia that could take the used
containers and recover the energy value from them or produce synthetic
diesel (for e.g.).

What ever the options identified, there will need to be training of
customers and tools to enable them to use the new container and it must
meet local legal and other regulatory/non-regulatory requirements. 

I would appreciate any information, advice or experience that you are
willing to share on these options or other possible options that you are
aware of, and if you are aware of any groups/individuals working on such
problems in North America or elsewhere. Your opinion on the sustainability
of the options available would also be greatly appreciated. 

Could you please aim to get back to me this week if possible.

Thanking you in advance.


3/32 Wolli Creek Rd
Banksia 2216 NSW Australia 



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