New Investment: ALPLA’s PET Recycling Plant

The Austria-based company invests 60 million Euro in a PET recycling plant in South Africa to recycle around 60,000 tons of PET bottles per year from 2025 onwards.

ALPLA is known for developing and producing plastic packaging solutions. Based in Austria, the family company has a long history and more than 30 years of experience. The company’s future plans now include strengthening its commitment in South Africa. After opening its new headquarters in Lanseria near Johannesburg in 2022, the next step is marked by building a recycling plant in the South African coastal town of Ballito, north of Durban. Construction started in summer 2023, and completion is planned for autumn 2024. In total, ALPLA is investing around 60 million Euro in strengthening the regional circular economy.

As communicated by the company, in the future, almost 60,000 tons of PET bottles will be recycled per year, and 35,000 tons of mechanically recycled rPET flakes and pellets will be produced, the majority of which ALPLA will process to produce its own bottles.

“Our goal is a bottle-to-bottle cycle at the location of our activities. In this way, as a recycler and producer, we can secure the supply of safe, affordable, and sustainable packaging worldwide and at the same time promote awareness of the recyclable material,” emphasizes ALPLA CEO Philipp Lehner. Apparently, the new plant will increase the annual production capacity of all ALPLA recycling companies and cooperations to around 238,000 tons for rPET (recycled PET) and 74,000 tons for rHDPE (recycled HDPE).

Increasing demand
The market for high-quality products made from recycled materials is growing not only in Europe, Asia, and North and South America but also in South Africa. There, the increasing demand is accompanied by the gradual expansion of nationwide collection systems. “Together with the Producer Responsibility Organisation PETCO, who identified KwaZulu Natal as an opportunity for enterprise development, and other key stakeholders, ALPLA has been supporting the development of the collection value chain, the sensitization of society, and the avoidance of landfills for years,” explains Mike Resnicek, ALPLA Finance and Commercial Director Africa, Middle East and Turkey, and Director and Member of the Board of PETCO.

Local know-how
ALPLA has jointly decided to approach the investment with a local partner to realize the recycling plant. “Local know-how combined with a sound understanding of the cultural and economic landscape is key for such a large-scale project,” Resnicek explains. PETCO CEO Cheri Scholtz says: “This investment in a further bottle-to-bottle plant in South Africa, and particularly with a local partner, is welcome news. We need additional offtake for the growing number of post-consumer bottles that we are unlocking nationally, and this also complements our transformation strategy.”

ALPLA is represented at seven locations in South Africa, Mauritius and Angola. In mid-October 2022, the region’s new manufacturing headquarter was inaugurated in Lanseria near Johannesburg. Prior to this, a second production plant for PET preforms was opened in Angola’s capital Luanda. ALPLA is planning further investments in southern Africa in the coming years.

(Published in GLOBAL RECYCLING Magazine 3/2023, Page 26, Photo: ALPLA)