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ALPLA invests €60m euros in PET recycling plant in SA

Multinational packaging and recycling commpany, ALPLA, is building a state-of-the-art recycling plant near the coastal town of Ballito, north of Durban.

Construction will start in summer 2023 and completion is planned for autumn 2024. In total, the investment will be around R1,26bn.

On a 90,000m2 site, the plant will have an output of 35K tonnes of recycled PET material from some 60K tonnes of PET bottles, and marks the company’s entry into the African recycling market.

The mechanically recycled rPET flakes and pellets will mostly be used by ALPLA to produce its own bottles.

This investment signals the ALPLA Group’s strengthening commitment in southern Africa, after opening its new HQ in Lanseria near Johannesburg in autumn 2022,

“Our goal is a bottle-to-bottle cycle at the location of our activities. In this way, as a recycler and producer, we can secure the supply of safe, affordable and sustainable packaging worldwide and at the same time promote awareness of the recyclable material,” emphasises ALPLA CEO, Philipp Lehner.

Partner for the circular economy

The market for high-quality products made from recycled materials is growing globally, including in the south of the African continent, with demand in SA accompanied by the gradual expansion of nationwide collection systems.

“Together with the Producer Responsibility Organisation PETCO, who identified KwaZulu Natal as an opportunity for enterprise development, and other key stakeholders, ALPLA will be supporting the development of the collection value chain, the sensitisation of society and the avoidance of landfills for years,” says Mike Resnicek, ALPLA Finance and Commercial Director Africa, Middle East and Turkey, and Director and Member of the Board of PETCO.

ALPLA has jointly decided to approach the investment with a local partner. ‘Local know-how combined with a sound understanding of the cultural and economic landscape is key for such a large-scale project,’ Resnicek adds, with no mention or naming of this partner.

PETCO CEO Cheri Scholtz says: “This investment in a further bottle-to-bottle plant in South Africa, and particularly with a local partner, is welcome news. We need additional offtake for the growing number of post-consumer bottles that we are unlocking nationally, and this also complements our transformation strategy.”

“By setting up the first recycling resources of our own in Africa, we are equipping ourselves for the future, making a contribution to increasing the collection rate and reducing waste by recycling valuable raw materials. At the same time, we are creating many new jobs locally,’ says Dietmar Marin, ALPLA MD Recycling Division.

The new plant in Ballito will employ around 100 people. The development of the regional collection system will also have an impact on regional value creation and is expected to generate more than 10,000 indirect jobs in the coming years.

About APLA in southern Africa: ALPLA is represented at seven locations in South Africa, Mauritius and Angola in the sub-Saharan region on the continent, where it employs more than 1,000 people. In mid October 2022, the region’s new manufacturing headquarters was inaugurated in Lanseria near Johannesburg. Prior to this, a second production plant for PET preforms was opened in Angola’s capital Luanda. ALPLA is planning further investments in southern Africa in the coming years.

Source: ALPLA