In Lahnstein, Germany, where Tomra, Borealis, and waste management company Zimmermann jointly operate an advanced mechanical recycling demo plant, the companies have convincingly demonstrated that it is possible to produce high-quality recycled material suitable for use in demanding applications, regardless of the source of input material.
The partnership between the companies, dating from 2019, shows what is possible when ‘key players in the value chain come together to make a truly significant impact in the market,’ declared Volker Rehrmann, Executive Vice President of Tomra Recycling, when the plant opened in 2021. But, he added, this was just ‘the start’.
Following on from the success of the demo plant, Tomra has now announced that a positive investment decision has been made by the Board of Directors for the construction of a mid-scale sorting plant for post-consumer plastic material. Some € 50-60 million will be invested primarily in machinery and equipment for a facility with a capacity of 80,000 t/pa that is scheduled to go into operation between 2024 and 2025. The plant will be built in an existing facility, which will be rented on a long-term basis.
"Millions of tons of plastic are lost to incineration and landfill every year. In addition, there is an increasing demand for recycled plastics both from chemical and mechanical recyclers. Our goal is to use our expertise in sorting to contribute to closing the circularity gap for plastics and transforming mixed plastic waste into valuable feedstock for recyclers,” explained Rehrmann.
Tomra will source pre-sorted mixed post-consumer plastic material otherwise lost to landfill and incineration and upgrade it via a splitting and grading process. The output will consist of over ten different polymer fractions, both flexible and rigid plastics, which will be sold to recyclers for use in both mechanical and chemical recycling processes..
"The investment we are now making in plastic feedstock sorting is aimed at closing the loop on plastics and reducing dependency on primary resources,” said Tove Andersen, President and CEO of Tomra.
"The urgency has never been greater to make a meaningful impact in the transition towards a circular economy.”