Veolia PET Germany has announced plans to close its PET recycling plant in Rostock, in the northeast of Germany, on 31 December 2023 as the rPET market in Europe continues to be characterised by uncertainty and volatility.
High energy prices and uncertain economic conditions, as well as competition from low-cost Asia-Pacific virgin PET imports have created a challenging market environment for European rPET producers, who have seen both rPET flake demand and prices come under considerable pressure.
Veolia PET Germany is part of the Veolia Umweltservice GmbH corporate Group. The Rostock plant, spanning an area of 12,000 m2, handles over one billion PET bottles a year, annually producing some 32,000 tonnes of food-grade recyclate primarily for bottle production and high-quality recyclate for use in film and thermoforming production.
The company, which has successfully operated on the European PET market for over 20 years, said its decision was the result of the market’s ‘unwillingness to create a sustainable closed loop for PET beverage bottles’.
This is despite the fact that, under the provisions of the Single Use Plastics Directive, all PET beverage bottles will be required to contain 25% R-PET by 2025. Veolia said that failing the security provided by long-term purchasing commitments from the beverage industry and/or retailers, keeping the PET recycling plant in operation was no longer economically viable.
Meanwhile, at the end of March, following a petition lodged by PET Europe to do so, the EU issued a EU’s notice of initiation of an anti-dumping investigation against Chinese PET resin. The product under investigation is PET with a viscosity of 78 ml/g or higher originating in the People’s Republic of China, currently classified under HS code 39076100.
However, it will take at least 13, but not more than 14 months after the date of the publication of the notice for the investigation to be completed and even longer before any measures are implemented.
As a result of Veolia’s decision to shut the plant, some fifty employees are set to lose their jobs.
Veolia’s production facilities in Frauenfeld (Switzerland), Fetsund (Norway), Norrköping (Sweden) and the central marketing company for all plants in Hamburg will not be affected by the closure.