PET to PET Recycling Österreich: Over 28,000 t of PET secondary material in 2020 / Further expansion plans
Last year, Austrian company PET to PET Recycling Österreich (Müllendorf; obtained 28,200 t of PET recyclate from around 1.13 bn used PET bottles, an increase in throughput of 7.3% compared to 2019. In addition, the company is continuing to invest in the Austrian circular economy: Apart from extending its storage capacities – the outdoor storage area has been increased by around a third (13,500 m²) and the covered storage area by around a half (2,200 m²) – a new silo has been added to the recyclate filling area. To raise production capacity, the company has also built a second granulating facility, which can produce around 2 t of rPET for food-contact applications every hour, equivalent to a capacity of around 18,000 t/y.

The investment projects were funded by the Austrian state of Burgenland and co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund.

Due to the pandemic, 2020 was a difficult year economically for the recycling industry – in Austria as well (see of 20.01.2021). As PET to PET explained, a considerable reduction in turnover because of the low oil prices and consequently low notations for virgin material are still making life very difficult for the industry. “Despite these major challenges, PET to PET managed to keep production going almost continuously last year, and even achieved a new record result,” said Christian Strasser, CEO of PET to PET. This can be attributed, said Strasser, to the company’s detailed pandemic plans, geared precisely to production – with strict hygiene measures and rapid Covid-19 tests for the employees – as well as the pioneering role played by the Austrian beverage industry when it comes to the use of recyclate in PET bottle production. Additionally, the processes are being continuously optimised, and the production plants extended.

For 2021, the CEO is opting for further expansion, with plans for more investments. On the one hand, he intends to improve the separation of bottle labels in the production process, and thus raise output quality, and on the other, build a new high-performance loading station for silo vehicles. Overall, the average output of the bottle-to-bottle lines is to be increased by around 20% in the current year.

Companies holding a stake in PET to PET Recycling Österreich are Coca-Cola HBC Austria, Egger Getränke, Rauch Fruchtsäfte, S. Spitz and Vöslauer Mineralwasser. The Austrian mineral water bottling company Vöslauer is a pioneer in matters of rPET. Among other things, it managed much earlier than planned to raise the recycled content of its PET bottles to 100% – a figure many competitors throughout Europe still dream of. The next target for Vöslauer is to make films, closures and labels completely from recycled plastics (see of 20.08.2020).

At the same time, however, the industry is worried about the future availability across Europe of rPET for food-contact applications. This concern was also recently expressed in a statement from Germany’s plastic packaging industry association Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen (IK) in the context of implementing the EU single-use plastic directive into German law (see of 26.01.2021).
29.01.2021 [246804-0]
Published on 29.01.2021
PET to PET Österreich: Über 28.000 t PET-Rezyklate in 2020German version of this article...

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