The latest acquisition by Austria-based Greiner Packaging marks the company’s first foray into the business of recycling. In a 6 September statement, the company announced that it had purchased Alwag, a Serbia-based producer of PET flakes. Greiner has renamed the company Greiner Recycling d.o.o.
As a result, Greiner Packaging now has three locations in Serbia: one recycling company and two manufacturing bases.
The acquisition was motivated, amongst others, by Greiner’s ongoing efforts to boost transition towards a circular economy and represents a sustainable form of backward integration, designed to ensure a dependable supply of the raw materials needed to fulfill this ambition. By broadening its offering, together with the in-depth knowledge it is gaining in the recycling sector, the company aims to further consolidate its expert position as a sustainability pioneer in the international market.
“PET is currently the only mechanically recycled material that can be used for food applications. As we work toward our sustainability goals, which we pursue consistently through all the business decisions we make, we naturally pay special attention to the possible creation of other r-PET streams in addition to the bottle-to-bottle stream. That would mean that an old PET cup could become a new PET cup in the future,” explained Greiner Packaging CEO, Manfred Stanek.
Looking ahead, however, the company said that next to r-PET, it will also develop initiatives to increase the use of r-PP and r-PS. The ultimate aim is to provide a sustainable material solution that is perfectly tailored to the customer.
Alwag currently supplies its flake material to customers throughout Europe. Greiner aims to expand the recycling capacity of the site, in order to continue to supply these customers, while at the same time producing sufficient volumes for use in its own packaging applications. To that end, the flakes are extruded and then thermoformed, while in the future, injection moulding applications will also be explored.
According to Stojan Dangubić, former director of Alwag and executive director of Aling-Conel, one of the former parent companies of Alwag, it was always a goal for the company to produce an r-PET product suitable for immediate processing.
“The recycling of PET packaging and bottles is a project we began 10 years ago as pioneers in Serbia. This new ALWAG product is now no longer being developed by us, but by new owners whom we have carefully selected and have full confidence in,” he said.
“We are convinced that our vision will be successfully pursued thanks to the new owners, their commitment to the Nova Gajdobra site, and the additional investments in downstream technological processes. This step makes sense for everyone involved and will take the company’s success to even greater heights in the future.”