Estonian food packaging producer EstPak Plastik has commissioned a new PET bottle recycling plant at its production site close to the country's capital Tallinn.
The flexpack extruder and converter, based at Kärdla on Estonia's offshore island of Hiiumaa, has invested around €2m to set up the new unit to recycle waste PET bottles, transforming the waste material into rPET film for flexible packaging.
EstPak, a major supplier of thermoformed plastic trays to the meat processing industry, also serves the bakery segment along with other food areas. It makes use of plastics including APET, OPS, polypropylene and polystyrene to produce its containers.
Employing recycling technology from Austria-based machinery specialist Starlinger, EstPak installed a new Starlinger Viscotec sheet line at the new plant on its mainland site at Jälgimäe outside Tallinn.
The 5,300tpa rPET line uses PET bottle waste from Estonia and recycled waste flake imported from the neighbouring Baltic state of Latvia. The large capacity line will enable the company to reduce its use of virgin PET material for packaging production, stresses EstPak.
"Given that 22 million tonnes of plastic packaging per year is produced in Europe, or about 29 kilos per person, this is a great win for the environment, which is increasingly being evaluated," the family-owned firm's chief executive Marek Harjak is quoted by local media as commenting.
He added that the new facility constitutes “one of the world's most advanced technological solutions to reduce the footprint of (plastic) film production”.
EstPak Plastik received funding for its latest recycling project from Estonia's Environmental Investment Centre (EIC) with a sum of almost €640,000 towards the plant cost.
The firm established its second packaging production site in Estonia in 2015 to increase its capacity. A mainland site was required because shipping product from Hiiumaa Island was no longer economically viable, EstPak explained at the time.
The first stage of developing the mainland site saw EstPak complete a central office and warehouse block constructed by Astlanda Construction in 2015. The second stage of the project comprised the construction of the 4,000m2 production and recycling building, finished this year.