Post-consumer PET/PE multilayer food containers will soon be joining the recycling loop! That’s because REPETCO is building a recycling plant in Albacete, Spain, designed specifically for this packaging type. It’s slated to go online before the end of this year, and it will have far-reaching implications for the circular economy in Europe.
According to REPETCO, somewhere between 700,000 and 1.1 million tons of food packaging made of multilayer PET and PE are used each year in Western Europe alone. But unlike PET bottles, multilayer plastics are either landfilled or incinerated after a single use. The resulting loss of enormous amounts of valuable raw materials to the circular economy was completely unacceptable to REPETCO’s founders. So, the company developed a unique and patented process specifically for delaminating the different layers of multilayer plastic.
“The factory is our greatest investment, with €55 million. It is expected to create 48 direct jobs and hundreds of indirect jobs, focused on suppliers and collaborators who have already shown their confidence in the project. Our technology offers a circular-economy-based solution to a serious environmental problem that has not been solved until now,” explains Juan Carlos Sirviente, Chief Operating Officer of REPETCO.
An important step towards a circular economy
The resulting streams of single-type plastic can then be used to make new food-grade packaging materials. Both the delamination and the washing-plant will be put into operation at the end of this year. The factory in Albacete, which is currently under construction, is dimensioned to receive 100,000 tons of plastics per year.
Krones washing technology is a vital part of the recovery process and has been customized specifically around the REPETCO delamination process. “For REPETCO, choosing Krones is a solid commitment to the circular economy. The factory’s design has all the environmental protection measures required by current regulations in terms of dumping, emissions and waste management and also incorporates all the cutting-edge technology such as Krones’,” says Sirviente. Peter Hartel of the Recycling Solutions Sales department at Krones is visibly pleased by the trust RepetCo has placed in Krones: “We’re very proud to be contributing to RepetCo’s success on this endeavor with our technology,” he says. It will take us a great and important step closer to achieving a circular economy.”
|Project:||Greenfield recycling plant|
|Commissioning:||End of 2022|
|Scope:||MetaPure recycling technology|
- Three MetaPure W washing modules, which will operate in parallel before the delamination process from REPETCO
- Three MetaPure W washing modules, which will operate in parallel after the delamination process from REPETCO
- This also includes the technology needed for shredding the input material
- Capacity: eight tons of material per hour output
The project demanded intensive, trusting collaboration between the two companies as it was crucial that the parameters and processes of the MetaPure W systems be precisely matched to the needs of the REPETCO delamination process. “It has been a challenge to develop this project from engineering to hands-on reality – not only due to its characteristics of cutting-edge and innovative solutions as I mentioned before but also engineering, developing and testing it during the pandemic. The flexibility and involvement that Krones brought to the project were the key factor making it possible,” says Sirviente.