In a joint venture with Ecohelp and United Polymer Trading, the ALPLA Group has opened its first PET recycling plant in Romania, which now claims to produce around 18,000 tonnes of recycled material from household waste every year and supply food-grade rPET for the southeast European market.

Taking nine months and around €7.5 million to construct, the plant is now operating its first extrusion line for the production of high-quality rPET granulate from PET flakes. The joint venture partners – known collectively as PET Recycling Team Targu Mures – will hold an official opening ceremony for the Târgu Mureș-based facility on 4th May 2023.

Within the joint venture, the three companies contribute towards a shared goal of plastic circularity with their respective areas of expertise; ALPLA as a global packaging manufacturer, United Polymer Trading in the distribution of plastics and recycled material, and Ecohelp in providing recycled PET flakes. The resultant rPET granulate is then expected to be used in the production of new preforms and bottles.

The construction of the new plant has also created twenty new jobs, according to the ALPLA Group.

“The growing importance of local recycling processes calls for increased commitment in the region,” says Georg Lässer, director of Business Development, Procurement and Sales Recycling at ALPLA. “Together with our partners, we combine strengths, increase the processing quality of the recycled PET material and ensure the long-term supply of the southeast European market. Expansion potential has already been identified – the plant has space for a second extrusion line, which would double capacity.”

“The collaboration is a great example of how to improve local recycling and ensure sustainable economic development,” added Mihail Moloiu, general manager at PET Recycling Team Targu Mures. “We are filling a gap in the market for high-quality recycled material in Romania and neighbouring countries.”

ALPLA has pledged to invest €50 million a year into the global expansion of its recycling activities until 2025, and reports that its current annual production around the world amounts to 203,000 tonnes of rPET and 74,000 tonnes of rHDPE.

In a similar development, Plastipak announced the opening of its new recycling facility in Toledo, Spain, which will also convert PET flake into food-grade rPET to be used in preforms, bottles, and containers.

Futerro started its own negotiations to open a fully integrated biorefinery at the Port-Jérôme industrial and port area with the aim of producing 75,000 tons of PLA every year; and PureCycle Technologies is set to build its own PP recycling facility in Belgium, hoping to reach an annual capacity of 59,000 metric tons.