One somewhat unforeseen side effect of the pandemic is the reintroduction of single-use plastics. For many years, countries and corporations alike have been making efforts to reduce their consumption, such as the UK government introducing its tax on plastic packaging containing less than 30% recycled plastic.

Now, however, ever-increasing hygiene and contact regulations have forced many to reintroduce single-use plastic packaging in an effort to cheaply comply. Enter Leeds-based, Estepet, the UK’s largest independent producer of rPET (recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate), a type of recycled plastic used in plastic packaging.  

The company recently received a £9m boost in funding from Shawbrook Bank, with which it plans to launch a new business, Esterpet, that will more directly service the food-grade rPET industry. The company will install two new custom-built Starlinger production lines, each capable of producing more than 13,000 tonnes of rPET annually. The facility will be the most advanced mechanical process for rPET in the UK, making the company a national market leader.

The funding and formation of Esterpet come as a direct result of the increased demand for rPET, largely as a result of the new government regulations. Demand is far outstripping supply, which provides a golden opportunity for those looking to enter the space.

If we can’t get rid of the packaging, then making it more sustainable certainly makes for a good compromise. Plastic remains one of the most diverse and economic methods of packaging and research more sustainable production methods is well-funded and growing.

The world’s increased awareness of hygiene, as well as the ever-increasing drive towards delivery culture, seems to point only towards one thing – a huge demand for packaging. Those companies able to satisfy both legislative and market demands will find themselves in a very good spot indeed.