Newcycling® of post-consumer waste proven successful on an industrial scale
Merseburg, 15. December 2021. The crowning achievement for any recycling company is obtaining pure plastic recyclates from mixed consumer waste. “2021 was a milestone year for APK AG. We were able to prove that our Newcycling®-technology can successfully recycle household plastic waste, and do so on an industrial scale. We were able to fully achieve the ambitious goals we had set for scaling and decolourisation”, declares Klaus Wohnig, CEO of APK AG.
Over the course of 2021, APK implemented an industrial-scale production campaign in several phases at its Merseburg recycling plant. The input material used for the ‘post-consumer Newcycling® campaign’ was film waste from household collections. The first phase generated excellent results with regard to problem-free processing, yield and mechanical values of the recyclate. With a view to decolourisation, the process parameters were refined in an intermediate laboratory phase. The modified parameters were successfully implemented in November 2021 in the second phase of the campaign by the development team led by Hagen Hanel, head of APK’s Plastics Recycling Innovation Centre. “Our hard work has paid off in full”, states Dr Jürgen Flesch, APK board member who oversees production and technology. “We were able to obtain a light-coloured LDPE-recyclate from mixed, flexible household waste, which was then processed into a film”. The analysis of the material obtained revealed excellent colour and transparency values. “The L value of our ‘campaign film’ is close to that of films produced from virgin plastics”.
Recycled plastics are in greater demand than ever – especially in the packaging segment – and the quality requirements for them are markedly increasing. “Proof of concept is an important step on our pathway to building new Newcycling® plants”, explains Maik Pusch, Director of Corporate Development at APK AG. APK is ambitiously moving forward with its expansion and, together with initial partners in the plastics value chain, is planning to set up several new plants over the coming years.