However, plastic bottles can be sensibly recycled. Freudenberg Performance Materials recycles around 2.5 billion PET bottles every year in its factories in Novedrate, northern Italy, in Pisticci, southern Italy and Colmar, France. If placed in a row, they would circle the Earth 15 times. Building the facility made Freudenberg a recycling pioneer.
“We are happy about every PET bottle that comes to us instead of littering the sea,” says Hans-Jürgen Berenbruch, recycling manager at Freudenberg Performance Materials in Novedrate. The company uses the plastic bottles to manufacture nonwovens for waterproof roofs, thermal insulation, furniture upholstery and geotextiles. The materials are made from 100 percent recycled PET and are equal in quality to new material.