United Kingdom-based chemical recycler Greenback Recycling Technologies Ltd. has acquired Enval Ltd., the company whose technology it used at the "first-of-a-kind" facility that opened in southern Mexico in late May.
Enval, based in Alconbury, England, designed and developed the technology at the hard-to-recycle plastic-aluminum laminates processing plant, which came on line in Cuautla on May 25 and was a lighthouse project undertaken in collaboration with, and partially financed by, Nestlé Mexico. Greenback announced the acquisition 18 Sept. Terms were not disclosed.
In a June 1 interview with Plastics News, Greenback CEO Philippe von Stauffenberg said his company planned to open 300 plants in the next two decades to handle flexible packaging, including hard-to-recycle plastic-aluminum laminates.
Half would be built in Latin America, 10 percent in Africa and Asia and the rest in Europe, von Stauffenberg said.
Asked in June whether Greenback would continue to use Enval technology, von Stauffenberg replied: "We own Enval." He said that Greenback bought a stake in Enval about three years ago "and now we own almost 100 percent of them. We intend to use only Enval until a better alternative comes along."
Now the companies have formally announced that they have merged their operations.
"This merger is a significant milestone for Greenback and Enval, and we look forward to the opportunities it will bring," von Stauffenberg said in a Sept. 18 news release.
According to Enval CEO and founder Carlos Ludlow-Palafox, Enval and Greenback worked closely together on the Cuautla project.
"This merger cements that relationship. It will allow us to expand our reach and accelerate our growth in the recycling industry," Ludlow-Palafox said.
"By combining Enval's expertise in the chemical recycling sector with Greenback's operational and business development experience, we will prevent many more tonnes of plastics from polluting our landscapes and oceans. We look forward to continuing to work with the Greenback team, now as a single company, to build a more sustainable future for all," he said.
Von Stauffenberg founded Greenback in London in 2018. Ludlow-Palafox founded Enval in 2006, originally a spin-out from the University of Cambridge,
The microwave-induced pyrolysis process developed by Enval has been developed specifically for recovering materials from foil-laminated flexible packaging. It can handle a wide variety of complex plastic packaging, using microwave energy to break down plastics into solid, liquid, and gaseous components. The gas is funnelled back into the system and used for power generation, minimising overall CO2 emissions and energy use. According to von Stauffenberg, this microwave system is the only one in the world that can separate plastic aluminium laminates into low-carbon-cost aluminium and pyrolysis oil. “A Tetra Pak, for example, will usually have an aluminium stratum, which we can then recover,” he noted.
Ludlow-Palafox has said that such raw material was previously considered unrecyclable.