Company Insight

Sponsored by Nissei ASB

Returnable & Refillable PET Bottles

Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) made its first impact on the container molding industry via carbonated soft drinks during the late 1970’s just as Japan’s Nissei ASB Machine Co., Ltd. was founded. In those early days only three machine manufacturers existed globally that produced equipment capable of stretch-blow molding this new material.

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When compared to single use PET bottles, Returnable & Refillable PET Bottles weigh around twice as much yet as a result of their reusability throughout their lifetime, only consume around 8-10% of the PET material of equivalent single use bottles.

Total life expectancy may be up to 6 years with each bottle capable of greater than 25 return cycles of around 12 weeks each and at the end of life, R&R PET Bottles may be bottle-to-bottle recycled or the raw material can be converted into other new products.

Even when molded with 100% virgin PET, the Refillable bottle already has a lower carbon footprint compared to a single use bottle, but having the ability to absorb up to 30% of recycled materials without any impact on performance reduces the carbon footprint of the container by around an additional 25%.

Nissei ASB is no stranger to the Returnable & Refillable PET Bottle market. Working with a famous brand filling company, ASB developed and launched the first Returnable & Refillable PET Bottles for juices and soft drinks in the German market during the country’s first “green wave” way back in 1989. Shortly thereafter, ASB went on to supply similar systems to multiple companies in around 20 countries throughout the 1990s.

These early Returnable & Refillable PET Bottles, molded by ASB machines and introduced to the German market in 1989 illustrate ASB’s long experience with the process. 

Apart from regular features, R&R bottles require special characteristics that Nissei ASB’s well-established Double Blow Heat-Set Process easily provides via its HSB Series reheat stretch blow molding machines;

  • High Thermal Stability – Bottles are routinely washed at elevated temperatures and may be exposed to sunlight through the retail cycle. High heat resistance ensures that shrinkage and deformation are kept within acceptable limits throughout the lifetime of the bottle.
  • Resistance to Stress Cracking – Bottles are washed and sterilized before filling using alkaline chemicals, their external surfaces will be scratched during use and may be exposed to various other detergents – all of which creates additional stress points. Reduced stress during the initial molding process is essential to prolong the usable lifetime of each bottle.

The direct benefits of the Double Blow Heat-Set system enabled the company to disrupt the market at the Drinktec 2022 exhibition with a high performance R&R bottle at significantly reduced weight;

  • 1 Liter Sparkling Water with 1.5 gas vol. (design compatible with popular German industry standard for sparkling water)

  • Weight: 53 grams (9 grams lighter than the current industry standard 62 grams)

  • Reuse Cycles: Greater than 25 times (current industry practice “up to 25 times”)

  • RPET Content: Up to 30% without reduction in performance

(in laboratory testing ASB’s R&R bottles with 30% RPET actually achieved in excess of 30 times washing and pressurization cycles)

1-liter Returnable & Refillable PET Bottles as demonstrated at Drinktec 2022, seen here with ASB developed preforms.

In a typical production scenario, a single HSB-4N machine will produce up to 20 million Returnable & Refillable PET Bottles per year, and with each bottle having a lifetime of more than 25 cycles, they represent the equivalent of at least 500 million single use bottles.

Now, with the resurgence in interest and public demand for refillable packaging, not only in Germany but also globally, ASB is well placed to take advantage by utilizing its broad packaging expertise as well as its capable molding equipment.

For those that missed it at Drinktec, the HSB-4N machine will be molding again at K2022 in October together with a full line of matched molding ancillary equipment that the company is able to supply, such as preform unscrambler, compressors and mold temperature controllers.

Nissei ASB Machine Co., Ltd. was founded in Japan in 1978, quickly becoming the world’s leader in 1-step injection stretch blow molding equipment by providing the industry with diverse technologies for production of high quality, unique and specialized containers, in PET and other plastics that help protect our health and environment.

HSB-4N Double Blow Heat-Set Reheat Stretch Blow Molding Machine from Nissei ASB.

The company’s turnover accounts for 15% of world-wide sales in all PET container production. A network of 16 sales and service subsidiaries and a further list of over 40 sales agents completes global coverage and ensures that ASB customers in over 130 countries are never far from sales or technical support.

Contact Information


4386-3 Koo, Komoro-shi,
Nagano-ken, Japan 384-8585

+81 (0)267 23 1565

+81 (0)267 23 1564

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