Plastics firm SIPA has replaced its polycarbonate (PC) water cooler bottle, which contains the controversial compound Bisphenol A (BPA), with a 100% polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recyclable version.
The Italy-based company said the move was a response to continued moves to ban BPA, which is commonly used in materials ranging from metal cans to plastic bottles, in many EU countries.
SIPA said it anticipated a time when regulation would force such a move on a wider scale.
“Customers are very interested in a fully recyclable solution and the fact that the handle is now made of PET instead of PP makes it very interesting for them,” a SIPA spokeswoman told FoodProductionDaily.com
“Also, even though PC has not been officially banned yet for the production of these big size containers, many producers think that it will come and they therefore appreciate having an alternative solution ready to be applied when they will be forced to move from PC to PET.”
Several studies over the past few years have linked BPA to a number of health issues, including cancer.
The innovation had the additional benefit of delivering lighter weight containers, said SIPA. In the case of a typical 690g container with a polypropylene handle sold in the US, the company said it could achieve a 25g weight reduction.
The firm said even the handle of the reinvented bottle was made out of 100% PET, meaning the whole unit could be recycled.
Another big benefit of the new version was that output rates of 250 bottles an hour could be achieved said SIPA, significantly more than was the case with previous polycarbonate bottles. This would enable manufacturers to save cash, it said.
“Assuming a system producing about 1.5 million containers a year, the savings coming from the bottle lightweighting would be about $80,000 to $85,000 per year,” a SIPA spokeswoman told FoodProductionDaily.com.
The solution was commercially available now, she said.
Virgin PET has so far been used for the new bottles, but SIPA said a proportion of the material could be derived from previously recycled plastics.