7 Million bottles per day

A leader in recycling, a leader in change

Did you know…Freudenberg Performance Materials recycles 7 million bottles per day?   

It takes 450 years for a PET bottle to degrade  

Many well-known drink brands began using plastic bottles in the 1990s because they are less fragile, lighter and cheaper than other bottling materials. 16,000 plastic bottles are produced worldwide every second. Many end up in landfill or are dumped in the sea – and stay there. Yet, it takes a PET bottle 450 years to degrade naturally. Most of them are made from recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

15 times around the earth

FPM recycles 2.5 billion PET bottles every year. Laid end to end, that number would go around the earth 15 times.

A second life as technical material

Freudenberg Performance Materials (FPM) shows that it doesn’t have to be like this. At its recycling plants in Novedrate, northern Italy, Pisticci, southern Italy and in the French town of Colmar, the company recycles around 2.5 billion PET bottles every year. Laid end to end, that number would go around the earth 15 times. With the installation of the first recycling plant in 1991, FPM became a pioneer of recycling in Europe.


The Freudenberg Performance Materials (FPM) recycling plant in Novedrate, Italy. Every day, millions of PET bottles arrive from sorting plants across Europe.


Trucks deliver the PET bottles in heavy, wire-bound bales weighing 400kg or 600kg. Compactly compressed, they are easier to transport.


To begin with, bottle caps are removed, labels are peeled off and ‘foreign substances’ such as PVC, rubber or styrofoam are separated and sorted by detectors along the recycling conveyor, leaving only the polyester behind.


The plant washes the bottles and crushes them into ‘flakes’: plastic crumbs with an average edge length of about ten millimeters.


The PET flakes are then melted and spun into a continuous yarn. Various steps in the spinning process produce staple fibers.


During the carding process, the fibers are combed into a loose, voluminous nonwoven and subsequently thermally bonded. The result is a homogeneous polyester nonwoven fabric, as can be seen in the picture.

“We are happy about every PET bottle that ends up with us rather than polluting the sea.”

Hans-Jürgen Berenbruch, Recycling Manager at FPM Novedrate

FPM uses plastic bottles to produce nonwovens at these sites, textiles which are used as roof waterproofing, thermal and acoustic insulation. The materials produced consist of 100% recycled PET and are of the same quality as new products. Recycling saves natural resources and energy. Instead of polluting beaches, the PET bottles get a second life as industrial products.  

rPET solutions for Apparel

At FPM Apparel interlining and thermal insulation production sites, purchased fibers are made of recycled polyester from post-consumer waste and are widely used as raw materials. Freudenberg was among the first interlining manufacturers to achieve Global Recycled Standard (GRS) certification, in 2017. More than 250 different interlining and thermal insulation products made with rPET fibers are available globally, offering a wide range of recycled and sustainable choices for any garment.

The Sites of Freudenberg Performance Materials