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ALPLA opens new PET recycling plant in Romania

| By Mary Bailey

ALPLA Group (Hard, Austria), together with its joint venture partners Ecohelp and UPT, has opened its first polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recycling plant in Romania after a construction time of nine months and investment of around 7.5 million euros. The state-of-the-art plant is now producing around 18,000 tons of recycled material per year from household waste. The joint undertaking PET Recycling Team Targu Mures supplies the southeast European market with food-grade rPET and thus promotes the circular economy in the region.

Around 18,000 tons of post-consumer-recycled PET (rPET) per year – the packaging and recycling specialist ALPLA, Ecohelp SRL (Romania) and United Polymer Trading AG (Switzerland) begin production at their joint recycling plant in Targu Mures. The three companies invested around 7.5 million euros in the construction and equipping of the plant on an adjacent site to the existing Ecohelp site in Targu Mures. Now, the first extrusion line for the production of high-quality rPET granulate from PET flakes has entered into operation. The joint venture partners will host the official opening ceremony on 4 May 2023.

‘The growing importance of local recycling processes calls for increased commitment in the region. 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,’ says Georg Lässer, Director Business Development, Procurement and Sales Recycling at ALPLA. Expansion potential has already been identified – the plant has space for a second extrusion line, which would double capacity.

The joint venture, which was established in autumn 2021, combines the skill sets of the three companies involved. ALPLA brings its many years of expertise as a global recycling specialist and packaging manufacturer, while United Polymer Trading (UPT) has an extensive distribution network for plastics and recycled material. The local company Ecohelp supplies the material in the form of recycled PET flakes based on PET bottles from household waste. The food-grade rPET granulate obtained from this process then serves as the starting material for new preforms and bottles.

The collaboration is a great example of how to improve local recycling and ensure sustainable economic development. We are filling a gap in the market for high-quality recycled material in Romania and neighbouring countries,’ says Mihail Moloiu, General Manager at PET Recycling Team Targu Mures. The new recycling plant has created around 20 new jobs.