Recycled plastic bottles find new life in laminate panels

From plastic water bottles, 3B S.p.A. creates laminates of recycled PET resin in an effort to contribute to the preservation of the planet’s well-being. The company says 3B Respet is the first panel obtained by using a 100 percent recycled poly-ethylene terephthalate (PET) resin. 3B Respet was a 2018 IWF Challengers finalist.

The process begins by removing metallic impurities, caps, and labels before PET bottles are crushed into flakes, which are then extruded to create sheets. The panels are made by either lamination or thermoforming. Respet can be reused to manufacture doors and furniture components.

To preserve the environment and natural resources for future generations, the company says Respet reduces CO2 emissions by 60 percent. By eliminating the need to extract and process raw materials, it saves energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Respet also reduces the need for landfills and incinerators because the more materials recycled the less waste there is to send to disposal facilities, which reduces the overall process of plastic disposal.

According to the company, for each medium-sized door made with Respet, 25 half-liter PET bottles are recycled and reused. The resin does not use fossil fuels and compared to conventional technologies, the company says the manufacturing of one door with Respet saves half a liter of oil.

With the same intrinsic qualities of a new material and infinite opportunities for application, Respet panels are available in all color variations, in gloss and matte finishes, and are customizable with wood prints and abstract patterns. They offer high performance on smooth surfaces as well as shaped surfaces and undercut profiles.

According to the World Economic Forum, estimates indicate that a weight of 150 million tons of plastic is found in the oceans. With 322 million tons of plastics reported to have been produced in 2015, the Forum states that only 14 percent of it is recycled. It is estimated that for every minute, 120,548 plastic bottles end up in either landfills or in the ocean. Plastic bottles are said take a thousand years to dissolve before they are carried by currents and broken up into smaller pieces, which group into clusters forming islands and damaging the marine ecosystem.

The technology of 3B Respet changes the life-cycle of plastic bottles forever, turning their end into a new beginning.


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About the author
Angeleen Kipfer

Angel Kipfer is an editorial intern at the Woodworking Network.