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Alpla rHDPE Milkbottle

Alpla moves into recycling of HDPE into packaging

Company expands into polyolefin recycling by acquiring two Spanish recycling companies that can turn PCR HDPE back into packaging.

With two of its own PET recycling plants in Austria and Poland (PET Recycling Team) and joint ventures in Mexico and Germany, Alpla (Hard, Austria) has long been established in the field of PET recycling. These operations currently have an annual capacity of 70,000 tonnes/77,162 tons.

Alpla is now taking the next step by buying two HDPE recycling plants.

Alpla signed the purchase agreements for the acquisition of Suminco S.A. in Montcada (near Barcelona, shown at left) and Replacal S.L. in Palencia (north of Madrid) in October. Both businesses belong to a Spanish family-owned enterprise with more than 35 years of experience in manufacturing HDPE recyclates. The annual capacity of the plants, which have a workforce totalling 50, will be expanded to 35,000 tonnes/38,581 tones. The businesses will continue to operate under the existing management. The contracting partners have agreed not to disclose any further details.

Conversion into packaging

“The investment in the two recycling plants in Spain brings us one step closer to our overall goal of being the leading manufacturer of sustainable plastic packaging,” explains Georg Lässer, Head of Recycling at Alpla.

To date, a large proportion of Suminco and Replacal’s HDPE recyclates has gone into the manufacture of corrugated pipes for sewage systems and other industrial applications. Alpla now intends to use suitable recyclates for packaging manufacture.

“We are safeguarding our production plants’ material supply and are doing our bit to achieve a functioning circular economy,” emphasises Lässer.

Former owner Jose Peruga adds, “The strong and recognised quality of our products in post-consumer recycling for more than three decades together with the synergies that will be created with Alpla will allow us to improve the quality of our products even more. And Alpla can produce HDPE packaging with a high content of recycled post-consumer material, as their customers and consumers demand.”

Circular economy

In 2018, Alpla signed the Global Commitment of the New Plastics Economy, an initiative of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in conjunction with the United Nations Environment Programme. Alpla’s defined goal is to expand its recycling activities, and it has earmarked an investment sum of 50 million euros for this purpose. Additionally, all of its packaging solutions are to be fully recyclable by 2025. The volume of processed post-consumer recycled materials is to rise to 25 per cent of total material usage.

Photos: Alpla

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