A PET manufacturer and recycler in India has started exporting recycled resin to the soft drink industry in the United States, including PepsiCo.
Futura Polyesters Ltd. of Mumbai, India, has shipped small amounts of its PET resin, a combination of virgin and 20 percent recycled, to Pepsi in North America and is trying to supply others, said M.D. Dalal, Futura joint managing director.
He spoke during an interview at the Global Plastics Environmental Conference, held Feb. 24-25 in Atlanta, where the company received an award from the Society of Plastics Engineers for helping to develop PET bottle recycling in India.
Dalal said the company has noticed increased interest in recycled PET from the major soft drink companies in North America. Coca-Cola Co. and Pepsi each have committed to use 10 percent recycled resin in PET bottles this year.
``We've already started supplying ... Pepsi so that they meet this requirement,'' Dalal said.
The Food and Drug Administration has said Futura's recycled resin can be used in food and beverage applications, he added.
Pepsi and Coke officials declined to comment on Futura, but both companies said they are on track to meet their 10 percent goals.
A beverage industry official said soft drink companies want to keep supply options open because recycled resin is in short supply in North America. The official said it's not unusual for beverage companies to import recycled PET, as recycling develops around the world. Coke's Mexican subsidiary, for example, has said it is building a bottle recycling plant in that country with U.S. technology.
According to Futura's Web site, the firm's polymer division was founded in 1993 as a joint venture between Pepsi and Indian Organic Chemicals Ltd., but became entirely owned by IOCL in 1998. The company claims to be India's largest PET recycler. Most of its output goes to fiber applications. Futura also is the largest supplier of bottle preforms in India.
Futura's award from SPE was for helping to fund PET bottle-collection points in about 20 cities in India.
Dalal estimated that about 60 percent of PET bottles in India are recycled, because they are collected by very poor people who pick through waste and salvage items of some value, and because most of the PET market in India is concentrated in the larger cities.