From pharmaceuticals to food and beverages
The bottles are coated using the PICVD method, a process first used in the pharmaceutical industry. In this process a reaction gas mixture is introduced into the PET bottle in a fine vacuum and this subsequently transformed into a plasma state by microwaves. In this state SiOx or chemically pure glass is deposited on the inside of the bottle.
The interior glass coating is transparent and has a thickness of less than 0.1 µm. It is thus flexibly and chemically bonded to the inside wall of the juice bottle. This prevents the glass coating from being accidentally removed when force is applied to the PET bottle, for instance; it can only be separated during the recycling process. Thanks to this particular property the FreshSafe PET® bottle from KHS is 100% bottle-to-bottle recyclable. This has also been recognized by trade associations such as the European PET Bottle Platform and the Association of Plastic Recyclers (USA). Furthermore, the bottle’s suitability for use with foods has also been officially proven. In many countries including the USA and the whole of Europe the KHS system has food-grade approval.
For consumers and the environment: FreshSafe PET® has many benefits
After coating the FreshSafe PET® bottle can be filled with product and provides full protection against both oxygen pickup and loss of CO2 and water vapor. In this way the Plasmax coating prevents the quality of the sensitive beverage from being compromised and means that the product keeps up to ten times longer than in uncoated plastic bottles.
In addition, glass-coated PET juice bottles have a number of further benefits – both for the consumer and the environment. For instance, plastic bottles are much lighter than glass bottles. This has a positive impact on the amount of CO2 emitted by trucks as fewer bottles or lower load weights mean less gas consumption. Plastic bottles are also unbreakable and flexible.
In addition to environmental aspects and the protection of the product, economy is also important. On the one hand, thanks to the glass coating the amount of plastic used compared to containers with oxygen absorbers is lower, thus yielding cost savings. On the other, bottlers can work with standard PET preforms, further reducing the cost per bottle.
KHS promotes the closed recycling loop
The greatest advantage of the FreshSafe PET system, however, lies in its ability to be fully recycled to produce pure PET. With this the KHS Group supports efforts to create a closed PET recycling loop and facilitate bottle-to-bottle recycling. This is essential if plastic bottles are to have a positive ecobalance, as the ALPLA LCA Packaging study carried out last year illustrates.
In order to continue to boost the high recycling rate of about 93% for PET bottles in Germany and further strengthen the bottle-to-bottle recycling loop, the KHS Group recently introduced an innovative bottle concept for sensitive beverages. Its Beyond Juice bottle is a fully recyclable PET bottle made entirely of recycled materials. Thanks to the FreshSafe PET® barrier system it provides outstanding product protection. Environmental service provider Interseroh has issued the container with its Made for Recycling seal of quality. The Beyond Juice bottle is the first PET bottle ever to score a full 20 out of 20 points in this rating system.
With the new bottle concept juice producers can save more than 1,500 metric tons of raw materials at a production of 50 million bottles a year. In doing so they are greatly helping to improve the ecobalance of plastic packaging. The Beyond Juice bottle is even more environmentally friendly in combination with Nature MultiPackTM from KHS, a container system that holds bottles together with dots of adhesive which are strong and secure yet easy to remove. With the help of this tried-and-tested packaging variant the plastic film otherwise used to form PET bottles into packs of six, for example, is no longer required. This reduces the amount of packaging waste by up to 90%. Like the coated PET juice bottles, the dots of adhesive are also fully recyclable.