Norwegian sustainable technology company Tomra has signed a majority ownership agreement with Plastretur, the Norwegian producer responsibility organisation responsible for recycling plastic packaging. Together, the companies are planning to build a dedicated plastic packaging sorting plant that will be the first of its kind in Norway.
Plastretur, which was established in 1995, first started to consider the possibilities for establishing sorting infrastructure in Norway in 2020. As a non-profit producer responsibility organisation (PRO), Plastretur AS is a responsible for the collection and recycling of plastic packaging in Norway. The return scheme is financed by member-companies by paying an environmental fee for the plastic packaging set on the Norwegian market. However, currently, plastic packaging waste from Norway is still being sent to Central Europe. Tomra’s expertise in the design of advanced sorting facilities and experience in creating circular solutions to enable recycling, meant that for Plastretur it was the obvious choice as partner for the project.
The project represents a total investment of €50 million. The companies are establishing a joint venture, in which Tomra will hold a 65% stake, and Plastretur 35%. The investment is part of Tomra’s strategy to build profitable businesses aligned with the core divisions of the company, aimed at providing workable solutions to today’s sustainability issues. Demand in Norway from recyclers for high-quality plastic fractions is growing, and the present investment will contribute to supplying this need, by recovering material that would have been lost to incineration, said Joachim N. Amland, SVP Tomra Feedstock.
The new plant will accept mixed plastic waste sourced from municipalities and mechanically separated and recovered. The plastics will be sorted into 7 types of plastic which will be processed into high-quality fractions that are ready to be used to produce new packaging and other high-quality products. Plastretur will remain responsible for sourcing plastic packaging waste from Norwegian municipalities, trade and industry, and delivering this to the plant as input. Tomra will use its expertise to grade the fractions based on type, and will also bear responsibility for selling the plastic output.
The plant will be the cornerstone in building the national infrastructure needed to reach future recycling targets said CEO of Plastretur, Karl Johan Ingvaldsen.“With this plant we are taking a major part in building a Norwegian plastic recycling industry and reducing the cross-border transport of waste.”
The total sorting capacity planned for the new site will be 90,000 tons of plastics per year. It will be built in Holtskogen Næringspark, Indre Østfold Holtskogen, Norway (near Oslo). The capital investment consists primarily of machinery and equipment. Groundbreaking is planned to take place in mid-2023 and commissioning in Q4 2024. The plant is scheduled to be fully operational by Q1 2025.