Alpla opens HDPE recycling plant in Mexico

Increase in annual capacity to 30,000 tonnes of rHDPE from mid-2022

87
Alpla opens HDPE recycling plant in Mexico
Alpla’s recently inaugurated facility is designed for an annual capacity of 15,000 tonnes of recycled HDPE (rHDPE) in pellet form Photo Credit: Alpla

The Alpla Group, the global packaging solutions and recycling specialist has opened a new plant for HDPE plastic recycling in Toluca, Mexico. At the same time, the company has announced it will double its annual regrind material production capacity to 30,000 tonnes from the second half of 2022.

Alpla celebrated the inauguration of its new state-of-the-art recycling plant for high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastics in Toluca, the capital of the central Mexican state of Mexico, on 10 November. Among the guests were the Austrian ambassador to Mexico, Elisabeth Kehrer, and the governor of the State of México, Alfredo del Mazo Maza

Following the plant’s construction announcement in September 2020, it took a little more than a year for the work to be completed. The investment sum came to around 20 million euros. Approximately 70 new jobs have been created at the plant, which will be run as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alpla.

The facility is currently designed for an annual capacity of 15,000 tonnes of recycled HDPE (rHDPE) in pellet form. This regranulate is mainly used to produce non-food packagings such as personal care products and household cleaning agents. The demand for recycling material is so high in Mexico and Central America that most of the output will be used regionally.

Alpla on increasing the capacity to 30,000 tonnes

With the initial start-up of the new recycling plant, Alpla is staying true to its strategic focus of thinking ahead and investing in regions where the demand for recycled materials has a lot of growth potential. Georg Lässer, head of Corporate Recycling, says, “We are delighted to be playing an important part in implementing a circular economy locally in Mexico with this new site. In taking this action, we are giving used plastic bottles value and promoting plastics collection and developing the necessary regional infrastructure.”

The success of this strategy is evidenced by the fact that Alpla can already announce an increase in the recycling plant’s annual production capacity to 30,000 tonnes starting in the second half of 2022. Carlos Torres, regional manager Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, explains, “We are seeing increasing momentum in the recycling market, taking one step forward in our commitment to sustainability, and the demand from our customers in the region for post-consumer recycled materials is rising. This is enabling us to initiate already an increase in our production of rHDPE in Toluca.”

Experience with PET recycling in the region

Alpla has many years of experience in recycling post-consumer PET in Mexico. The first bottle-to-bottle recycling plant in Latin America, Industria Mexicana de Reciclaje (IMER), went into operation back in 2005. IMER is a joint venture between Alpla México, Coca-Cola México and Coca-Cola Femsa. The partners have established the infrastructure for collecting and recycling used PET beverage bottles over the past 15 years by joining forces. They produce close to 15,000 tonnes of food-grade flakes from post-consumer PET a year.

Expansion of recycling activities

In early 2021, the Alpla Group announced that it would invest an average of 50 million euros a year until 2025 in the ongoing expansion of its recycling activities. In particular, it plans to globalize its activities in the area of high-quality recyclates to close the materials cycle in as many regions as possible. In all, the annual capacity of the Alpla recycling companies, joint ventures, and partnerships amounts to approximately 130,000 tonnes of PET and 60,000 tonnes of PE.

 

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Packaging South Asia’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

Subscribe Now

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here