In light of Hungary’s new deposit return scheme, Petainer and Oonly have released their first refillable PET bottle for mineral water on the Hungarian market in hopes of driving circularity in the country’s beverage sector.

When compared to a refillable 1.5L glass bottle, the Oonly bottle weighs 106g and uses around 4.24g of material per cycle compared to a glass bottle’s approximately 800g. Its light weight is thought to enable ‘vigorous’ washing between cycles.

Apparently, the bottle can achieve the equivalent workload of around 25 bottles in its lifespan of roughly 25 cycles. Since reusable bottles can end up scuffed as they travel through cycles, the Oonly bottle’s textured design is set to highlight its branding and protect the quality and purity of the mineral water inside, which is drawn from a protected water table in the foothill of St Martin’s Hill in Pannonhalma.

Oonly also uses state-of-the-art, industry 4.0 robotized equipment to fill the bottles at its greenfield site. The machinery has a potential annual fill capacity of over 50 million bottles, the companies claim.

Released ahead of Europe’s 2030 target for reuse, the bottle is hoped to introduce a circular solution for beverage packaging to the Hungarian market.

“Petainer are delighted to be the partners for Oonly’s revolutionary project for the Hungarian market,” says sustainability director Michael Joyes PhD. “The team at Oonly had a clear vision for their product, knowing that the packaging itself would be as important as the pure spring mineral water they bottle from their source.

“There is not just a demand for quality mineral water on the Hungarian market, but also for sensible packaging formats. The Hungarian market suffers from low collection and recycling rates of the 2 billion bottles placed on the market each year, which reuse can address.

“Refillable PET has been proven in markets where it is present to reduce environmental spillage and collection, with 97-99% collection in the German market at current count. Hungary is taking steps already with the implementation of a Deposit Return Scheme from 2024, which will support the collection of bottles including Oonly’s.

“Going further with the implementation of reuse, Oonly can offer customers the most sustainable packaging format for beverages.”

“In Hungary 100% of household mineral water consumption is brought to market in single use PET bottles,” added István Polony from Oonly. “Our research indicates that the market is ready for environmentally conscious innovation as a solid 18-20% of consumers declare to make consumption choices based on health and sustainability factors.

“As pioneers of the refPET category in Hungary we wanted to make sure to align our efforts with the industry leader Petainer. We are confident, that the value proposition of Oonly, with premium quality mineral water packaged in sustainable refPET containers from Petainer will attract an ever-growing segment of the environmentally focused consumer base and will pave the way for the emergence of a significant refPET category in Hungary.”

In a similar development, Bottle Up recently unveiled what is described as the first pre-filled, plant-based, fully reusable water bottle sold in the UK; it seeks to become a renewable and recyclable alternative to single-use plastic bottles.

Furthermore, reusable cups are now accepted in café, drive-thru, and mobile orders at all company-operated and participating licensed Starbucks stores in Canada and the United States. The company hopes that the development will contribute towards its goal of halving its waste by 2030.

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