Process of PET Bottle Recycling : Step-by-Step Guide


The demand for high-quality recycled RPET (Recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate) flakes has soared among global brands striving to achieve their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) objectives. The usage of recycled PET as source material for food-grade applications or micro denier filament applications has been steadily increasing. This surge in demand indicates a growing trend toward utilizing recycled PET for sustainable packaging solutions. To meet these evolving demands and ensure the best quality of recycled PET flakes, one of the critical factors lies in the right selection or optimizing the PET bottle recycling process and equipment. The right selection of PET bottle recycling process is the grantee to support recycling the waste PET bottles to rPET flakes.

Adapt the various combinations of modules to suit the diverse sources of waste PET and the downstream applications in different countries. Here are the six main steps of the PET Bottle Recycling Process.

General PET Bottle Recycling Process
De-baling—Metal detecting and separation—Label Removal—Bottle Pre-washing—Bottle Sorting(optical & Manual—Crushing—Flotation Washing—Hot Washing—Rinsing—De-watering—Dust Removal—Flakes Sorting—Drying—Packaging

Normally, the waste PET bottles will through several similar washing and recycling processes to become clean rPET flakes but are affected by the bottle material composition.

General PET Bottle Recycling Process

1. Collection and sorting

The first step before the PET bottle recycling process is to collect post-consumer PET bottles from various sources. In European and American countries, specialized large-scale Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) are utilized to categorize reclaimed recyclable materials such as paper, plastic, glasses, and metal. Plastics, after undergoing multiple rounds of sorting, can be transformed into homogenous bales of single-polymer compositions. These bales are then transported to plastic recycling facilities for further processing.

2. De-baling

Cut off the baling wire of the PET bottle bale by manual or automatic device, and make the bottles loose into a bottle baler. There are various types of bale breakers when you configure the process, you should consider the density of the bottle bale. An automatic device will save a lot of labor.

Three types of bale breakers from BoReTech, the right choice can support easily breaking up the bottle bales into loose.

PET Bottle Recycling Process - Horizontal Type
Horizontal Type
PET Bottle Recycling Process - Vertical Type
Vertical Type
PET Bottle Recycling Process - Horizontal Type
Horizontal Type

3. Metal detecting and removal

Ferrous metal separation can be achieved by a magnetic drum, magnetic over-belt, or metal detector with a flapping device. To separate the non-ferrous metal, we recommend the eddy current in the later step.

PET Bottle Recycling Process - Magnetic Drum
Magnetic Drum
PET Bottle Recycling Process - Magnetic Over-belt
Magnetic Over-belt
PET Bottle Recycling Process - Flapping Device
Flapping Device

4. Labels and impurities separation

PVC label is a big problem in PET bottle recycling. A label-scrapping machine that is equipped with a blower will handle these heat-shrinkable labels well. The PP labels and paper labels normally will be separated during the hot washing process. So for the different labels, you should choose the right machine to process.

PET Bottle Recycling Process - Labels and impurities separation

BORETECH launched a new type of Label scrapping module - LABEL REMOVAL & FLUSHING MODULE

  • Combines the label-scrapping and bottle-washing functions.
  • Separating the labels, and other impurities, filtering water from the material.
  • It is capable of processing 5 tons/h of PET bottles.
  • A high label scrapping rate and lower bottle breaking rate


PET flakes hot washing

Soaking and washing flakes, heating the cleaning medium with steam or heat-conducting oil, and dosing the detergent and NaOH to improve the cleaning effect, soften and remove the impurities attached to flakes; oil will be emulsified during the hot washing.

The following are the key factors for the Hot Washing Process in PET Bottle Recycling.

  • Automatic Temperature Control
  • Washing speed
  • Washing dwell time
  • Detergent

Qualitative analysis of PET bottle balers in the early stage will support the hot washing process.


  • The process flow is rationalized, compacted, simplified, and occupies less area.
  • Unity and renewing of temperature and chemical concentration for batch flake washing.
  • The mechanical friction force and friction between materials significantly improve the flakes-washing effect.
  • Patented shaft with paddles produces high-speed water flow through the rotary, washing flakes to peel off labels and gules and reach a perfect washing effect;


5. Rinsing Suction

There are several types of rinsing machine to be considered, high speed rinsing tank, screw rinsing tank and combined with ULTRASONIC WASHING MACHINE.

The rinsing process is to separate suspended solids by different gravity of materials.

  • High-speed rinsing machine with high-speed stirring to wash the flakes by water vortex force.
  • Screw-type washing, further rinsing to separate from semi-floating impurities.
  • Through cavitation, the dirt, glue, and impurities on the surface of the flakes are impacted, and then the impurities are separated to achieve the cleaning effect.

PET Bottle Recycling Process - Rinsing Suction


In addition to the main PET bottle recycling processes mentioned above, there are indeed numerous processing methodologies applied for PET bottle recycling based on the diverse conditions of the PET bottle sources. Presently, the challenge lies in the persistent presence of impurities within PET bottles on a global scale. These impurities are a consequence of the ongoing utilization of PET bottles that incorporate multiple materials. Consequently, the successful implementation of PET bottle recycling and cleaning hinges on the adept selection and integration of processing techniques tailored to the specific characteristics of the PET bottles being processed.

Customized Modules : Tailoring PET Bottle Recycling Line to Diversity

ES process PET bottle recycling is a multifaceted process that transcends traditional methods. While the core processes highlighted earlier lay the foundation for PET bottle recycling, it's essential to recognize the intricate variations necessitated by the diverse origins and conditions of these bottles. Customized process modules play a pivotal role in achieving efficient recycling outcomes, particularly when dealing with the complexities of mixed-material bottle structures.

Informed Machinery Selection : Key to Successful PET Bottle Recycling

Understanding the PET bottle recycling process is crucial for making informed decisions when it comes to selecting suitable PET bottle recycling machines. The nuances of the recycling process underscore the importance of choosing machinery that aligns with the specific requirements of your operation. Factors such as the source of waste PET, desired recycled material quality and intended downstream applications all contribute to determining the most appropriate recycling equipment.

Learn more : 3 Minute to Know PET Bottle to Bottle Closed Loop Recycling

Case study : BoReTech's Role in Advancing Turkey's Plastic Industry Through PET Bottle Recycling Line Expertise

Empowering Sustainable Choices : BoReTech Recycling Machinery's Expertise

As a leading manufacturer of PET Bottle Recycling Machines, our expertise lies in offering cutting-edge solutions for PET bottle recycling. With a wealth of experience in the field, we possess the knowledge necessary to guide you in making well-informed choices regarding plastic bottle recycling machinery. If this article has piqued your interest in delving deeper into the realm of PET bottle recycling equipment, we invite you to explore "The Latest Recycling Technology for PET Bottle Recycling—ES PROCESS PET BOTTLE RECYCLING SYSTEM." This comprehensive resource provides an in-depth understanding of our advanced technology, further enriching your insights into PET bottle recycling.

BoReTech stands as your partner in this journey, prepared to provide support and empowerment as you strive for a more environmentally responsible future. Feel free to reach out to us to explore potential synergies. Alternatively, you can visit our PET Bottle Recycling Equipment or connect with us on our social media platforms to delve deeper into the wealth of information we offer.

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