Bulgarian flexpack firm mulls plan for fourth plant and recycling

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Extrapack plant at Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria

A growing flexible packaging producer is exploring the option of constructing a fourth production plant in Bulgaria and expanding an existing unit located in the north of the Balkan country.

Extrapack OOD, an extruder of films and converter of plastic and paper bags, based in Verliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria, has been studying a plan to boost waste plastic recycling, add product value, and expand its capacity by a third, it said.

“This is a project we have been working on for about a year, together with the Austrian (packaging and recycling machinery) company Starlinger.  However, the technology for production of material from recycled plastic bottles is currently at an experimental phase,” Extrapack director Milen Georgiev told local media.

He stressed the ultimate success of the project will depend on the quality of the bottle waste available. “We might need to use additional treatment facilities or switch from (this) material to non-woven fabric, which in turn, could require higher investment,” explained Georgiev, who is finance and investment director. But he did not elaborate further.

His company currently recycles up to 150 tonnes of plastics waste per month making use of equipment and technology supplied by the Austrian manufacturer Erema.

If Extrapack’s latest plan does go ahead, production of plastic films, bags and sacks would rise from the current output of its three existing plants by 30% to 1,300 tonnes per month, Georgiev added.

Today, the Bulgarian firm has become a national leader in flexible packaging and operates a number of blown polyethylene film extrusion lines, mostly supplied by the Italian machinery manufacturer CMG.

Extrapack also makes polypropylene spunbond nonwovens, used along with paper and textile materials to produce a huge range of bags which are printed in house.

Extrapack was formed in 1995 by five young Bulgarian entrepreneurs who launched its first modern plant in 2001 in the western industrial zone of Veliko Turnovo. Three years later, the firm opened a trade office a warehouse in the capital Sofia.

A second plant was launched nearby in 2009 where the firm is now based. At the end of last year, it opened a third unit which makes woven and non woven polymer materials.

Since then, Extrapack has gathered a total workforce of more than 700 and now exports around 65% of its output to markets in Western Europe.    

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