Investment in chemical recycling

Investment in chemical recycling

Südpack and Clean Cycle have signed an agreement for a long-term investment in the unique Carboliq technology developed by Recenso. The decision is the logical consequence of the cooperation between Südpack and Carboliq that started about a year ago. Now the three companies Clean Cycle, Südpack, and Carboliq pool their expertise in the area of material management with chemical recycling. Their aim is to further expand available capacities for the innovative and highly efficient chemical recycling of a wide range of plastics. They plan to make currently non-reusable packaging materials suitable for recycling and for the circular economy that will be necessary in the future.

With the operation of the pilot plant at the disposal center in Ennigerloh, Südpack and Carboliq have proved that numerous material fractions as well as mixed and contaminated plastic wastes can be converted into a valuable resource. Apart from the large diversity of input materials, the Carboliq process offers competitive advantages in terms of energy efficiency and low emissions. The oil recovered is virgin-grade quality and can be used by the plastics industry in the same way as fossil fuels to produce a wide spectrum of plastic granulates. These granulates can in turn be processed to produce high-performance films for sophisticated packaging applications which are required above all in the food industry.

So far, the cooperation partners have successfully applied the technology both for resource recovery from their own recyclable material flows as well as for recycling packaging materials from processing and from end customers. The Recenso plants for direct oiling work according to the catalytic tribochemical conversion (CTC) process and are unique in the world.

The investment in Carboliq creates a powerful company that will in the medium term continually expand its capacities for highly efficient recycling of a wide variety of plastics. "Fundamentally, our joint vision is tackling the problem of high-performance flexible packaging materials that can’t be mechanically recycled with current technology. We aim to make them recyclable and therefore compatible with future needs. Thanks to the investment by Südpack and Clean Cycle, we’ll be able to create a closed-loop, high-performance and industrial-standard system that also handles these products. It will allow us to exploit the extremely promising potential of our technology," explains Christian Haupts, the CEO of Carboliq.

"In a wide range of applications, for example in the food industry, high-performance multilayer films with effective protective functions are the most efficient solutions for keeping all kinds of food fresh. And they’ll remain the best choice in the future," says Dirk Hardow, Business Unit Manager at Südpack. "That’s because they provide maximum product protection at minimum added weight. However, the drawback is that they can’t be mechanically recycled. Now Carboliq offers a key system component for creating a circular economy in the food packaging industry which can’t be achieved solely with mechanical recycling, also due to existing legislation. So we see our investment in Carboliq as an opportunity for Südpack to expand the definition of plastic waste recycling beyond just mechanical recycling."

Similarly, Clean Cycle Investments, owned by the Last family, is committed to supporting innovations in the packaging industry that can ensure a positive future for the industry. Laurens Last explains: "We very deliberately incorporated the word ‘Cycle’ into our company’s name because we see the circular system as our top priority. We’re fully confident that chemical recycling will play a crucial role in achieving a sustainable circular economy that even includes high-performance plastic packaging. Therefore, our involvement in Carboliq is not just an investment in a greener future, but also a matter close to our hearts."

For Südpack, the investment in Carboliq is additionally a significant move towards the goal of a zero-waste company. The aim is zero waste not only in its own material management, but also in that of customers and stakeholders along the entire value creation chain. In addition to solutions for flexible films for the food packaging industry, Carboliq also has a number of promising ideas in the fields of medical product packaging and technical applications: "So not only customers of our Business Unit Food benefit, but also customers of our Business Unit Medica and Business Unit Functional Films & Compounds. That’s because in the long term we believe it will be essential also on these markets to close cycles and permanently reduce the input of fossil raw materials," says Johannes Remmele, entrepreneur und owner of the Südpack Group.