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ALPLA recycling facility in Wolfen, Germany

Joint venture Team Wolfen recycles PET from German households

Partners ALPLA (Hard, Austria) and Fromm (Spreitenbach, Switzerland) are investing €7 million in sorting and processing systems.

ALPLA's recycling plant in Wolfen, Germany.

Two packaging companies—Austria-based ALPLA (Hard) and Switzerland’s Fromm (Spreitenbach)—are developing a joint venture as a basis for collaboration in PET recycling. Team Wolfen, as the venture is called, will be dedicated to recycling PET waste from the Gelber Sack, or “yellow bag,” the German bin for household recyclables. 

ALPLA and Fromm first announced their PET recycling collaboration in July 2018. Texplast, a subsidiary of Fromm Plastics GmbH, itself the German subsidiary of Fromm, is in the process of installing a third extrusion line at the Wolfen location, which will begin operating in May and increase annual capacity for food-grade rPET by 15,000 tonnes.

The next step calls for ALPLA and Fromm to found a joint venture, PET Recycling Team Wolfen GmbH, the aim of which is to recycle PET bottles found among recyclables collected from households in Germany. The collaboration partners are investing €7 million in sorting and processing systems at the Texplast facility in Wolfen. Implementation should begin in 2019. The contracting partners have agreed not to disclose any further details.

PET Recycling Team Wolfen will recycle "yellow bag" PET, initially focusing on rigid packaging, notably deposit-exempt food and beverage bottles as well as bottles for cleaning products. “We want to process the clear bottles from the yellow bag in such a way that the material can be used in the production of new bottles,” said Georg Lässer, head of recycling at ALPLA. “We create flakes out of the colored PET for use in the manufacture of strapping bands.”

There’s a huge backlog for other forms of PET packaging such as trays, thermoforming films and blister packs, said the announcement. Examples include fruit trays, packaging for sausage and cheese, and memory cards. “The investment creates the conditions for further developing the recycling process for these items on an industrial scale in collaboration with the film industry. In this way, we also play an important role in achieving legal recycling targets,” said Matthias Schäfer of Texplast. “We also thus ensure that we can continue to produce our PET strapping bands from 100% recycled materials.”

ALPLA is a leader in plastic packaging, with around 20,800 employees worldwide producing custom-made packaging systems, bottles, closures and molded parts at 178 sites in 46 countries. ALPLA operates its own recycling plants: PEZT Recycling Team with a site in both Austria and Poland, and in the form of a joint venture in Mexico. The collaboration with Fromm/Texplast in Germany has been in place since July 2018.

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