Reuters had an interesting piece recently on Bangladesh's thriving Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) recycling industry. The South Asian country exported more than 20,000 tons of PET flakes, the shredded version of plastic bottles, last year sorted from the 3,000 factories across the country dedicated to recycling. The industry generated about $10 million in 2007 and has grown annually at a rate of 20 percent.
Once the PET bottles have been sorted and crushed, the flakes are exported to China, Korea, Vietnam and Thailand, according to Sarwar Wadud Chowdhury, the chairman of Bangladesh PET Flakes Manufacturers and Exporters Association. Chowdhury says the importing countries use the flakes to make Polyester Staple Fiber (PSF), which are used in spinning mills. PSF is a base material for clothing, pillows, carpets and polyester sheets.Around the world, about 1.5 million tons of PET are collected per year, the majority of it in Europe. Petcore, the European non-profit organization that champions PET recycling, predicts that in Europe alone, collection will exceed one million ton by 2010. In Bangladesh, the sector is also creating much needed jobs for thousands of poor children and women who survive by collecting at least 100 tons of PET bottles per day. :: Via Reuters
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