ALPLA is building a recycling plant in Ballito, South Africa, with an intended output of 35,000 tonnes of rPET flakes and pellets a year – aiming to enter the African recycling market and stimulate circularity in the region.

Following the opening of its new headquarters in Lanseria in late 2022, ALPLA hopes that a new, 90,000-square-metre plant dedicated to recycling used PET will be complete in autumn 2024. Its approximately €60 million investment in a food-grade PET recycling facility is expected to process an annual 60,000 tonnes of used PET bottles, most of which are set to be recycled into ALPLA’s own rPET bottles.

It is also anticipated that the new plant will increase annual production capacity across ALPLA’s recycling companies and cooperations to around 238,000 tonnes of rPET and 74,000 tonnes of rHDPE.

“Our goal is a bottle-to-bottle cycle at the location of our activities,” explains Philipp Lehner, CEO at ALPLA. “In this way, as a recycler and producer, we can secure the supply of safe, affordable and sustainable packaging worldwide and at the same time promote awareness of the recyclable material.”

“Together with the Producer Responsibility Organisation PETCO, who identified KwaZulu Natal as an opportunity for enterprise development, and other key stakeholders, ALPLA has been supporting the development of the collection value chain, the sensitisation of society and the avoidance of landfills for years,” continues Mike Resnicek, ALPLA finance and commercial director Africa, Middle East and Turkey, and director and member of the board of PETCO. “Local know-how combined with a sound understanding of the cultural and economic landscape is key for such a large-scale project.”

“By setting up the first recycling resources of our own in Africa, we are equipping ourselves for the future, making a contribution to increasing the collection rate and reducing waste by recycling valuable raw materials. At the same time, we are creating many new jobs locally,” Dietmar Marin, ALPLA managing director Recycling Division, adds. “The new plant in Ballito will employ around 100 people in the future. The development of the regional collection system will also have an impact on regional value creation and is expected to generate more than 10,000 indirect jobs in the coming years.”

Cheri Scholtz, CEO at PETCO, concludes: “This investment in a further bottle-to-bottle plant in South Africa, and particularly with a local partner, is welcome news. We need additional offtake for the growing number of post-consumer bottles that we are unlocking nationally, and this also complements our transformation strategy.”

Seven ALPLA locations currently exist in South Africa, Mauritius, and Angola in the sub-Saharan region on the content, where over 1,000 are currently said to be employed. As demand and nationwide collection systems expand in the region, the company plans to invest further in its southern African operations in the coming years.

A PET recycling plant developed in a joint venture between the ALPLA Group, Ecohelp, and United Polymer Trading has opened and commenced production in Romania this year.

Additionally, Fost Plus and Morssinkhof Plastics Belgium are building a recycling plant to convert an anticipated 40,000 tons of polyethylene, polypropylene, and HDPE packaging waste into new raw materials.

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