Greiner Packaging has acquired Serbia-based producer of PET flakes, ALWAG, in a bid to diversify its business model through vertical integration and ensure a reliable supply of recycled materials.

The acquisition of ALWAG will see the first recycling company added to the Greiner Packaging group and will mean the company now has three locations in Serbia: one recycling company and two manufacturing bases. After the acquisition, ALWAG be renamed Greiner Recycling d.o.o.

Greiner Packaging says that one of its objectives is to maximise the use of recycled material when manufacturing its products. As the first recycling company in the group, Greiner Recycling d.o.o. will apparently help to secure material streams that will later be converted by Greiner Packaging.

According to the company, this form of backward integration will ensure a dependable supply of raw materials and enable Greiner Packaging to offer customers reliability going forward. Greiner Packaging adds that the acquisition is also key to expanding recycling as an integral part of the company’s business model.

Manfred Stanek, CEO of Greiner Packaging, explains: “PET is currently the only mechanically recycled material that can be used for food applications. We are strong believers in the potential of PET and, by expanding our expertise, we are actively committed to using this material effectively.

“As we work toward our sustainability goals, which we pursue consistently through all the business decisions we make, we naturally pay special attention to the possible creation of other r-PET streams in addition to the bottle-to-bottle stream. That would mean that an old PET cup could become a new PET cup in the future.”

ALWAG says it currently supplies its material to customers throughout Europe. Following consultations with its partners and a planned expansion of recycling capacity at its site, PET flakes will reportedly be gradually made available for Greiner Packaging’s applications. ALWAG customers will continue to benefit from a reliable supply of their usual quantities of recycled material, the company claims.

Stojan Dangubić, former director of ALWAG and executive director of Aling-Conel, comments: “The recycling of PET packaging and bottles is a project we began 10 years ago as pioneers in Serbia. It has always been our ultimate goal to produce an end product made entirely of recycled PET material that can then be converted.

“This new ALWAG product is now no longer being developed by us, but by new owners whom we have carefully selected and have full confidence in. We are convinced that our vision will be successfully pursued thanks to the new owners, their commitment to the Nova Gajdobra site, and the additional investments in downstream technological processes. This step makes sense for everyone involved and will take the company’s success to even greater heights in the future.”

Greiner Packaging adds that to incorporate recycled PET into packaging, the PET flakes will be extruded and then thermoformed. In the future, injection moulding applications will apparently also be considered.

Going forward, Greiner Packaging says it will broaden its offering through vertical integration and the in-depth knowledge it is obtaining in the recycling sector. The company also intends to continue initiatives to increase the use of rPP and rPS, with the aim of providing sustainable material solutions that are tailored to the customer.

Last year, Greiner Packaging collaborated with PET-MAN and Starlinger Viscotec to offer milk packaged in cups made entirely from rPET in Upper Austria. Other recent innovations from the company include its thermoformed IML solution for cups, offering a recyclable mono-material PP pack that is allegedly lighter weight and suitable for a range of decorative effects.