A milestone in the recyclability of plastics


On 2 February 2021, a truck filled with crude oil, which was recovered by chemically recycling reusable materials from SÜDPACK, left the RECENSO pilot plant in Ennigerloh near Münster. The goal of the strategic collaboration is to take reusable materials that cannot currently be mechanically recycled and recycle them on an industrial scale using the CARBOLIQ process to recover raw materials and consequently close further loops in the packaging industry.

It was a special kind of event. Most importantly, it was an event that sent a signal. Together with its partners RECENSO and COUNT, SÜDPACK has demonstrated that reusable materials that are generated during the production of films are not waste, but can be a valuable resource instead.

Chemical recycling makes it possible to take multilayer, mixed or even contaminated film composites that could not be mechanically recycled up to now and extract new, high-quality base chemicals in a way that conserves resources. The plastics that are recovered are then suitable for producing high-performance films, which can be used to package demanding products with high quality and hygiene standards, for example in the food industry.

As a leading manufacturer of these high-tech films, SÜDPACK feels particularly committed to sustainability. With its investment in collaboration with RECENSO, a specialist in resource recovery, SÜDPACK is following the long-term objective to further develop the technology of chemical recycling and establish the process as an additional recycling alternative in the market. This is intended to close reusable material loops and achieve the ambitious recycling rates in the packaging industry. At the same time, the process makes an important contribution to optimizing SÜDPACK’s material management and is also a key element for attaining the objective of climate neutrality. 

“Here at SÜDPACK, we are very much aware of our ecological and social responsibility – and feel responsible for the entire life cycle of our packaging materials,” explained SÜDPACK Partner Johannes Remmele. “It is therefore of utmost importance to us to ensure that these materials are meaningfully recycled after their service life – and to make a pioneering contribution to a circular economy as well as to decarbonization and CO2 reduction.” 

This makes 2 February 2021 a major milestone, not only for SÜDPACK and its partners, but also for the entire packaging industry. After all, this collaboration aims to ultimately demonstrate that sustainable packaging not only can, but also must be economically viable. “Chemical recycling is an expedient approach in our view – and the mass balance method that has now been accepted by end consumers in the energy sector is a feasible approach for utilizing products from chemical recycling as raw materials in industrial plastics processing,” added Johannes Remmele. 

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