Maastricht-based Healix, a scale-up that recycles discarded rope and nets from agriculture and fisheries into certified, circular pellets, has secured funding from the regional development agency for the Dutch province of Limburg, LIOF.
The announcement comes after Healix raised over €10 million in funding in September 2021, to help finance its factory in Maastricht, the Netherlands. The company shreds, washes, and reprocesses used twines, ropes, nets, and other plastic fibber waste from farming and fishing into pellets at the facility, which came online in 2022 and has an annual capacity of 6,000 tones of polypropylene (PP) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE), saving almost 10,000 tones of CO2 emissions per year. Its branded line of recycled polymers, called Healix, includes PP pellets made of baler twine, maritime ropes, and big bags, as well as HDPE pellets from fishing nets and tulip nets.
LIOF’s investment is expected to optimise the plant in Maastricht but also to support international scale-up plans, which are reportedly already in the pipeline. Healix welcomed the funding support but shared that its ambitions to create a circular plastics economy are being curtailed by an unfavourable economic climate, low prices for virgin plastics, and delays to legislation on plastics recycling.
“I would like to share my concerns and view on the current dynamics in the plastic market…, which seems to move away from circularity now due to the historic low price of virgin plastics,” Marcel Alberts, CEO and founder of Healix, told Sustainable Plastics. “Producers therefore seem to revert to virgin material again as a replacement for recycled content, which makes the need for additional legislation even more pressing, in order for the plastic recycling industry to survive,” he continued.
Alberts is not alone in his concerns. Recyclers across Europe are facing troubled times demand continues to dwindle, as recycled standard thermoplastics prices continued to tumble in July and August. R-PET showed the largest decline in price, with R-HDPE and R-PP declining at a less steep rate compared to July. Sustainable Plastics recently launched a new look for our interactive polymer prices database, which allows you to follow the ups and downs of resin prices in Europe online.