European manufacturer of plastic containers, drums and bottles AST is establishing a new competence centre at its site in Erndtebrück, Germany, to explore the feasibility of using recycled HDPE in the production of its packaging products. As a partner in this pilot project, the company has chosen to work with Austrian recycling machinery manufacturer Lindner, who is supplying the expertise and technology used at the new centre.
AST Group has long held the ambition to incorporate more recycled content into the packaging solutions produced at its six production sites in Germany, the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands.
At Erndtebrück, AST Kunststoffverarbeitung GmbH has for decades been producing UN-approved packaging for dangerous goods, next to food packaging solutions - both areas in which packaging is subject to a host of legal regulations. These product safety regulations can impede the implementation of the principles of the circular economy and interfere with the EU’s strategies for avoiding plastic waste.
With the launch of the new competence centre, AST aims to gain experience with HDPE recycling, to pave the way for future strategies and introduce the use of recyclates in the series production of its technically demanding HDPE containers and drums. As a pilot project, it combines the experience and expertise at all AST’s production locations. Ultimately, the company is hoping to produce a sustainable flow of raw materials of its own.
The centre has been fully equipped by Lindner with a complete recycling line for processing post-industrial and post-consumer HDPE. The washing and sorting components came from from Lindner Washtech, who, together with AST, was also responsible for the facility’s entire engineering. The shredders were supplied by Lindner Recyclingtech.
According to Hauke Grabau, responsible for recycling at AST, the company uses premium raw materials to produce its containers, drums and bottles, which ‘should not go the general recovery route’. Lindner offered the best overall package and expertise in mechanically recovering polymers for developing this project, he said.
“We want to retain this valuable material in the loop. We have seen from the very beginning that Lindner is willing to tackle new problems and that we can learn from each other in the joint development of this project.’