Belu backs recycled PET

UK bottled water brand Belu is to make all of its PET bottles from 100 per cent recycled plastics bottles in a move that the company says is the lowest carbon footprint option.

Belu, a social enterprise that gives 100 per cent of its profits to charity WaterAid, claims that the recycled material generates 75 per cent less carbon emissions than aluminium and is easily recycled, unlike cartons.

“We have come to the conclusion that where the single use can’t be removed, the answer to our anti-plastics challenge, is in fact, plastic,” said chief executive Karen Lynch. “If you must use a single-use bottle, the kindest thing you can do for the planet is to choose a bottle made from 100 per cent recycled plastics, and not a can or a carton.”

By moving to 100 per cent recycled PET, Belu estimates that it will generate about 60 per cent less carbon emissions than a comparable virgin bottle and about half that of a typical aluminium can (which contains 70-73 per cent recycled content).

“While cartons are closer in emissions, other environmental impacts become more significant,” she added. “A standard 500ml carton still contains 35 per cent plastics and 5 per cent aluminium foil. Special processes are often needed to recycle them, and collection avenues are limited across the country meaning only 37 per cent of UK cartons are recycled.”

Lynch added that the complex materials found in cartons mean that those products cannot be part of the circular economy.

The company claims that it’s the first in the water market in the UK to switch entirely to 100 per cent recycled bottles. Belu also claims to have been the first to switch to 50 per cent recycled PET in 2012.

Belu shot to prominence in 2005 when it launched its water in PLA bottles, which featured in Plastics in Packaging’s ‘Packs of the Year’ review.