A joint venture scrap plastic recycling plant, formed by Dutch and local packaging producers, has started operating in the young Balkan state of Kosovo.
Reks, which recycles post industrial polyethylene waste, collected through partners in various companies, has begun producing recycled low density and linear low density polyethylene (rLDPE and rLLDPE) resins this July.
The business, located in an 82,000m2 site in Ferizaj, Kosovo, was formed by the Volendam, Netherlands-based flexible packaging group KIVO, its Balkan offshoot KIVO Kosovo in Kaçanik, southern Kosovo and the Dutch firm Kras Recycling.
Waste plastic is collected from a number of big companies and distribution centres by partner Kras Recycling and shipped to the Reks operation in Kosovo. The joint venture plant sorts, washes and transforms the scrap into reusable recycled raw material.
Part of the Reks plant’s output of recyclate is destined for the KIVO Kosovo packaging operation further south, to use for flexible film and packaging such as garbage sacks and collection bags, according to KIVO group.
Since its creation in February, 2015, KIVO Kosovo has grown rapidly. Its original 3,500m2 plant at Kaçanik has doubled in size while the workforce tripled to 90 and it is now equipped with eight flown film extrusion lines and two flexo printing presses.
The significance of the new Reks operation is that it will help in reducing a build up of plastics waste in Europe, after China halted its import of high levels of foreign scrap material.
“Today, a small part (of plastic waste) still goes to destinations in Asia. The greater part now goes to the incinerators in Europe. By recycling in-house in Kosovo, we can create closed loops, guaranteeing high quality (material),” explained Ben Kras, director of Kras Recycling.
He added that the new recycling plant contributes to employment and the development of Kosovo and in-house recycling is “less harmful to the environment”.
The Dutch partners aim to extend the role of Reks in response to pressure from the Netherlands government and the EU for less primary raw material use and more circular solutions.
KIVO already recycles waste collection bags from a large supermarket chain, producing and supplying it with fresh bags made from the recyclate, so creating a sustainable and efficient close loop operation.
Early this year, the Dutch group set up a recycling unit close to its base in Volendam in the Netherlands. Recycling scrap material from its packaging plant, this facility makes use of resulting rLDPE and rHDPE polymer in further packaging production.
KIVO Group director Robert Kwakman said his firm was beginning by recycling 10m kgs of plastic waste during 2019 with a goal of doubling processing capacity within two years.
He declared earlier this year that there “is no other company in Europe that can deliver this kind of high quality, recycled plastic products at such low cost and in huge volumes”.