Hard, 11th October 2018

Insights into the materials cycle of a PET bottle

At the start of October, we welcomed a dozen journalists from Austrian and German industry magazines, as well as premium Austrian newspapers. They had accepted our invitation to the press trip ‘Circular economy: from post-consumer material to PET bottle’. The one-day trip took the attendees to three different locations in the south of Vienna – the stages of a used PET bottle becoming a filled bottle of water again.

ALPLA believes in recycling

Our colleagues from PET Recycling Team GmbH got things underway. Georg Lässer, Head of Recycling at ALPLA, welcomed the guests and introduced the subject. ‘We have been dealing with recycling for over 25 years. We were already investing in these technologies and processing recyclable materials into new packaging at a time when it was almost being dismissed as nothing more than a hobby. With this in mind, we welcome the current developments. However, we are also calling for suitable measures to allow us to implement the ambitious targets and ideally support our customers,’ he said, to explain his core demand. Thereafter, our recycling experts explained the process and its challenges: from the procurement of post-consumer materials via sorting technology to food-safe recycled material (rPET).

Peter Fröschel, Plant Manager PET Recycling Team (PRT) Wöllersdorf, led a tour through the recycling factory and demonstrated the path for a used PET bottle to become food-safe rPET granulate.

In ALPLA’s two PET recycling factories (Wöllersdorf, Austria and Radomsko, Poland), around 42,000 tons of food-safe rPET is produced each year. Since Wöllersdorf made the changeover to green electricity, the rPET produced there saves around 90% in terms of greenhouse gas emissions in comparison to new material. From a technical point of view, almost anything is possible these days, which also applies for the use of recycled materials in the production process.

Insight into the production of sustainable packaging solutions

The group then moved on to the ALPLA Base Plant in nearby Steinabrückl. The journalists found out how items known as ‘preforms’ for PET bottles are manufactured. Plant Manager Werner Rosenberger explained the different technologies and machines, and Regional Manager CEE Rainer Widmar discussed the importance of recycling in Central and Eastern Europe, among other things.

How is recycled plastic turned back into fully functioning packaging? Journalists experienced the answer up close in our production factory in Steinabrückl.

The fact that we were able to present the entire cycle of a PET bottle was thanks to the generous cooperation of our customer Vöslauer Mineralwasser. In Bad Vöslau – the third and final stop on the trip – managing directors Birgit Aichinger and Herbert Schlossnikl welcomed us in the afternoon and presented the sustainability targets of their company. The visit to production showed how the preforms produced in Steinabrückl are stretched and shaped into PET bottles. There was a real highlight for the journalists at the end of the tour: their goodie bags contained the first Vöslauer bottles manufactured from 100% rPET (insert link to Vöslauer site) – in cooperation with ALPLA, of course.

Our summary

The number of attendees, the high level of interest during the factory tours and the animated discussions before and after show that the subjects of the circular economy and recycling are highly relevant at the moment, particularly among journalists. If you also have questions on the subjects, please get in touch with us at any time or visit our sustainability website.

Author profile

Alexandra Dittrich

As Senior PR & Corporate Communications Expert, Alexandra Dittrich is the point of contact for all journalistic enquiries to ALPLA. In that context, she deals with subjects like the circular economy and sustainability particularly often at the moment. However, she is equally committed to internal communication at ALPLA and has been responsible for editing the employee newsletter ‘Flaschenpost’ at the headquarters in Hard for several years.