Light and recyclable: KHS and Alpla Group develop returnable PET bottle

Reduce, reuse and recycle – these three pillars of sustainability are a composite part of KHS’s corporate philosophy. The manufacturer of filling and packaging technology focuses on resource-saving, recycling-friendly systems and solutions. Together with Austrian packaging solutions provider Alpla, KHS has developed a returnable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) container that weighs just 55g. The 1.0-litre bottle’s recyclate content of 35% also contributes to its overall eco-balance.


KHS has worked with Alpla and developed a returnable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle featuring low weight and high recyclate content. With this development, the former adheres to its maxim of “reduce and recycle”, said Arne Wiese, bottles and shapes product manager at KHS. “We aimed to produce a returnable container system that’s as environmentally friendly as possible. Two parameters are of prime importance here: low weight and a high percentage of recyclate.”

By optimising the bottle base and neck, the team managed to cut down on weight. At 55g, on average the 1.0-litre bottle is 10g lighter than it standard counterparts, according to KHS, and compared to glass containers, it clocks up just one-tenth of the weight on scales.

Wiese explained: “This optimization means that the amount of material used is much lower. At the same time, fuel consumption and thus also CO2 emissions drop during transportation.”

Despite less use of materials, the returnable system is ideal for a high circulation. The PET bottle features resistance to caustic; hence its quality and appearance are maintained even after numerous washing cycles.

The aspects of easy recyclability and the use of recycate also played a role in the bottle’s development. The environmentally-friendly returnable container is not only fully recyclable and thus remains in the recycling loop; its high recyclate content is also compelling, as Wiese added: “We’ve had outstanding test results with preforms made of up to 35% recycled materials; preforms containing 50% recyclate are also feasible for some brands.”

The PET system devised by KHS and Alpla therefore meets the European Commission’s requirement that one-way PET bottles comprise 30% recyclate by 2030.

The optimised preforms can be blown on all KHS stretch blow moulders for returnable containers. These include the InnoPET Blomax Series V. The new packaging system is designed for all types of beverages in the returnable container segment.

“We’re convinced that we can place our ecofriendly PET bottle on the market quickly and successfully. Our aim is to implement the market launch in close cooperation with bottling companies,” he concluded.