2020 was a difficult economic year - especially for the recycling industry. As a critical infrastructure, the recycling industry was particularly challenged by the pandemic and associated lockdowns. Due to the low oil price and the resulting low price level for virgin material, heavily reduced sales continue to burden the industry. "Despite these major challenges, PET to PET managed to keep production operations going almost continuously and even achieved a new record result. We are very proud of that", says PET to PET managing director Christian Strasser. "There are primarily three points responsible for this: Firstly, a detailed pandemic plan, precisely tailored to production and including stringent hygiene measures and COVID-19 rapid tests, enables employees to work safely. Second, the Austrian beverage industry plays a pioneering role in using recyclates in new PET containers; this benefits our sales. Third, we are continually improving ourselves through consistent process optimization and the expansion of our systems in the circular economy's interests."
Investments increase productivity and generate jobs
In the past year, the handling areas were significantly enlarged in compliance with the highest safety standards in terms of fire protection. The outdoor storage area was expanded by around a third (+ 13,500 m2), the covered storage area by around half (+ 2,200 m2) thanks to the new warehouse. A second granulation plant was built, producing around two tons of food-grade PET recyclate per hour, to increase production capacity. Besides, PET to PET put a new silo into operation in the area of recyclate filling. "Our investments not only ensure the seamless and resource-saving recycling of PET bottles in Austria. Thanks to the construction of our new production facility, we were also able to create eight additional jobs", says Strasser.
The circular economy will be expanded further in 2021
Further investments are on the agenda for the current year. On the one hand, the aim is to optimize the separation of the bottle labels within the production plant and thus further improve quality. On the other hand, the construction of a new, high-performance loading station for silo vehicles is planned. “We look positively into the future and ask the population to continue to dispose of all used PET bottles in the correct container. In this way, we can keep the extremely high-quality packaging material PET in circulation for as long as possible and conserve valuable resources. Every PET bottle counts. We are prepared for this and plan - also with the help of the newly built granulation plant - to increase our overall throughput by around 20%,” concluded Strasser.
* The projects mentioned were supported by the funding agency of the Province of Burgenland and co-financed by the European Fund for Regional Development. For more information on IWB / ERDF, see www.efre.gv.at .