Modern economies do a difficult dance with plastics. At present we can’t function without them, but they’re fouling every type of ecosystem on earth – at sea, on land, in the air. Are there safer ways of producing, reusing and recycling this seemingly essential material?

An Australian company thinks so.

ALPLA, a company that manufactures plastics used around the world, makes bottles from PET (polyethylene terephthalate), an “already recycled plastic that can be used again and again,” the company says. “Production of this recycled material results in about 90 percent less CO2 emissions,” they say.

ALPLA is partnering with other businesses, such as an Austrian dairy company that uses these bottles for milk. “Compared to the refillable glass bottle, we save 20 percent CO2 in total and we would need 23 times more trucks to transport the same amount of bottles than with the PET bottle,” the dairy company says.

ALPLA is part of the Circular Plastics Alliance, a European plastics-industry group that aims to ‘take action to boost the EU market for recycled plastics up to 10 million tonnes (metric tons) by 2025.” As we work to “reduce, reuse, recycle” and decrease plastic pollution, finding ways to reduce the amount of new plastic generated are critical. Let’s see where PET plastic goes.