A new joint venture, aimed at establishing a PET bottle-to-bottle recycling facility in Targu Mures, Romania has been formed by three partner companies, each with a different area of expertise.
The partners: Alpla Group (Austria); Ecohelp SRL (Romania) ;and United Polymer Trading AG (Switzerland) are each investing equally in the installation of an extrusion line to recycle post-consumer PET bottles at the Romanian partner’s site.
The PET Recycling Team Targu Mures joint venture aims to produce 15,000 tonnes of food-grade post-consumer recycled PET (rPET) each year. The rPET granulate will then be used to manufacture new preforms and bottles, with an intention to strengthen the local materials cycle within the Central and South-Eastern Europe region. The project, including engineering of the plant and the associated building and infrastructure, represents an investment of roughly €7.5 million. The plant expansion will create 15 new jobs at the site in Targu Mures.
Preform and bottle manufacturer Alpla Group will provide the recycling expertise. The base material - PET flakes - will be supplied by Ecohelp. These will go through an extrusion process to produce high-grade rPET granules. The third partner, UPT, co-owns the rPET upcycling facility Cumapol Emmen in the Netherlands and specialises in trading plastics and recycled material.
The project is in line with Alpla’s aim to establish bottle-to-bottle cycles – including in regions where the collection and recycling of waste still has potential for development, said company chairman, Günther Lehner. “By participating in this joint venture, we are taking a strategically important and sustainable step in this direction.”
The joint venture is subject to regulatory approval by competition authorities. The parties signed the contract for it on 9 September 2021, with production planned to commence in mid-2022. The parties have agreed not to disclose any further details.
In early 2021, the Alpla Group announced that it would invest an average of €50 million each year in the ongoing expansion of its recycling activities until 2025. In particular, it plans to globalise its activities in the area of high-quality recyclates in order to close the materials cycle in as many regions as possible. In all, the annual capacity of the Alpla recycling companies, joint ventures and partnerships amounts to approximately 130,000 tonnes of PET and 60,000 tonnes of PE.