(Photo credit: PETCYCLE)


PETCYCLE GmbH with a mixed annual balance 2019 - Decline in sales and progress in sustainability

| Business function | PETCYCLE GmbH | Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler | Germany

For the twentieth anniversary of the company, the extraordinary weather of the previous year, the increasing plastic bashing and the progressive individualization of branded packaging clouded the balance sheet of Petcycle GmbH. The operator of the petcycle pool system for beverage packaging reports a drop in sales of 11.8 percent in 2019.

The circulation system for mineral water and soft drinks is used by over 65 beverage manufacturers in Germany for around 150 beverage brands. With reusable crates and one-time fillable PET bottles, Petcycle is one of the pioneers in the circular economy and sustainable PET recycling cycles.

At the same time, the company made further progress last year in improving the ecological balance of the system.

With a consistently high recycling rate of 99.3 percent, the average proportion of recycled PET in the bottles increased by 9.5 percent to 61 percent.

Weather, plastic bashing and individualization depress sales

In the entire industry there was a decline in sales of approx. 5% in 2019. There were quite strong regional differences.

"2019 was also a difficult year for us," says Hans Baxmeier, Managing Director of Petcycle GmbH. “We had to deal with three major issues straight away. For one, the super summer of 2019 was a sales hurdle that was almost impossible to overcome. In addition, there was the plastic discussion and the individualization of beverage brands via own, non-poolable beverage packaging. "

Discussion about plastic unsettles consumers, retailers and manufacturers

For the industry as a whole, the current, often very irrelevant discussion about plastic packaging and therefore also about PET bottles is worrying. "On the one hand, the steadily improving life cycle assessments of PET beverage bottles, particularly with regard to material consumption and CO2 reduction, are rarely taken into account," says H. Baxmeier the consumer."

For the beverage industry, PET is a bottle material that is anything but a residual waste to be disposed of in closed recycling cycles. With regard to recycling quotas and the use of recycled material, the industry and in particular petcycle are already much further ahead than politicians would like for the future. This is made possible by the exemplary deposit, return and settlement systems in Germany.

"When EU commissioners speak of plastic bans or France announces rigorous bans, we ask ourselves why constructive options are not being discussed, such as the development of deposit systems, such as in Germany," added H. Baxmeier. "Politics should be clear: Show more interest in closing the material cycles in the field of waste management and recycling. Because here we are actually working effectively against climate change, because recycling always means climate protection. So what should be promoted instead of just discussing regulations or bans. "

So far, Petcycle has not been able to determine the proportion of sales lost through plastic bashing. But there are clearly discernible regional differences. The south of Germany seems to be more affected by the plastic discussion than the north and east.

It remains to be seen whether this development will continue. "After all, in the plastic discussion, at least in the media, more objective sounds are slowly being heard," says H. Baxmeier.

Despite all the headwinds, Hans Baxmeier looks confidently into the future “In addition to its practical convenience advantages for the consumer and the entire value chain, our pool system, which has been successfully operated for over 20 years, has an increasingly important development constant: sustainability. In the ecological balance , petcycle packaging is now at eye level with reusable glass and our planned increase in the recyclate quota to 75% in 2020 will further strengthen our position. In the coming months, this should be put in the foreground as a community of 65 beverage manufacturers in order to make consumers feel safe again. ”