Strategic partnership to achieve EU recycling targets

ARA, Der Grüne Punkt and Bernegger set up sorting plant in Upper Austria

Cologne, Germany

Altstoff Recycling Austria AG (ARA), DSD - Duales System Holding GmbH & Co. KG (Der Grüne Punkt) and Bernegger GmbH are building a sorting plant for lightweight packaging in Ennshafen, Oberösterreich. With an annual sorting capacity of around 100,000 tons, one of the most modern facilities in Europe is being built. The joint venture is thus taking an important step towards even greater climate protection and towards achieving the EU recycling targets from 2025.

By 2025, Austria must double its recycling of plastic packaging. With the existing 15 Austrian plants and their sorting capacities of 1,000 to 30,000 tons per year, this EU recycling target is currently not achievable. A new high-performance, high-tech sorting plant in Oberösterreich will provide a workaround and, from 2025, will process around 100,000 tons of lightweight packaging per year from the yellow bin and yellow bag for subsequent recycling.

80 x 80 x 80 – The magic formula for plastic recycling

"In the collection of plastic packaging, we are already successfully turning many screws with the Austria-wide standardization and the expansion of the separate collection ex house. But that alone is not enough; sorting plants play a key role in recycling: they decide what is available as a raw material. That's why we decided to build our own state-of-the-art facility together with Der Grüne Punkt and Bernegger," explains ARA CEO Christoph Scharff and explains what is needed to meet the EU recycling quotas from 2025: "The simple calculation is: 80 x 80 x 80. We have to collect 80 % of all packaging, sort out 80 % for recycling and also achieve an 80 % yield in the recycling process itself. Then the target of a 50% recycling rate for plastic packaging can be achieved. Today we are at 58% x 58% x 78% - and a recycling rate of 25%. We therefore need to double our output in the next three years. With the new sorting plant, we have the capacity and technology we need in time for 2025."

Closing the sorting gap in Oberösterreich

At the same time, the new plant will close a geographical sorting gap in northern Austria, which currently necessitates longer transport routes to more distant sorting plants in Austria and neighboring countries. "We are building the plant in Ennshafen in Oberösterreich, which is the optimal location due to its geographical position and logistical links to road, rail and water. This - in conjunction with the know-how of the Bernegger Group, especially in the field of rail logistics - will enable us to transport large quantities in a climate-friendly way in the future," says Bernegger Managing Director Kurt Bernegger, and goes on to specify: "With the construction of the plant in Ennshafen, we are keeping the added value in Austria and creating new jobs in a digitalized, highly technological environment in the future raw materials park in Enns."

Cross-border partnership

The investment volume in the new plant amounts to around 60 million euros. With a sorting capacity of 100,000 tons of light packaging per year, one of, if not the most modern plant in Europe and also the largest in Austria is being built. ARA and Der Grüne Punkt will ensure the necessary capacity utilization.

"Germany is facing the same challenges as Austria, we have to increase the recycling rates and thus the sorting depth for light packaging. We take every opportunity to increase quality and quantity in the sorting of our packaging. The plant in Oberösterreich is an important building block for us to achieve our goals," explains Michael Wiener, CEO of Der Grüne Punkt.

A major advantage of the new plant: the use of higher capacities ensures lower unit costs and thus effective and efficient sorting. The sorted packaging is handed over for recycling and used as single-variety recyclables for the manufacture of new products.

"With our combined innovative and investment power, we are advancing the circular economy and thus climate protection," conclude the cooperation partners ARA, Der Grüne Punkt and Bernegger.

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