Erema's sales up as drive for sustainability continues

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Photo by Jim Johnson Gerold Breuer, head of marketing and business development for Erema Group GmbH.

As head of marketing and business development for Erema Group GmbH, Gerold Breuer's job is to tell the company's story. And he says he has a good one these days.

Erema posted record sales for the fiscal year that ended 30 March, a 14% jump from previous years.

And he expects more growth in the current year as orders are strong for the company's variety of plastic recycling machinery.

Recyclers who were accustomed to sending their material to China have now found that outlet essentially shut down as the government there cracks down on imports of recycled materials. China wants to promote collection of its own recyclables instead of relying on the shipments from around the world.

This means demand for Erema's recycling equipment is growing in locations as recyclers reshore those materials for processing.

Erema is experiencing growth throughout the company, but Breuer pointed in particular interest in flexible film recycling.

"We are selling machines for this application not only in the U.S. but also Latin America in the last year," he said at NPE2018 in Orlando, 7-11 May.

And it's not only new machines that are selling well these days, Breuer said. The company has seen an uptick in its used machinery sales business.

The plastics industry, in general, is becoming "more and more involved in reusing" material as brand owners seek to increase their recycled content as consumers pay more attention to that topic.

"The raw material producers, they also have now recycled materials in their portfolio because the brands, the big brands, are requesting it," he said.

As more emphasis is being placed on the circular economy, he said, Ansfelden, Austria-based Erema is positioned to take advantage of the trend. That includes the company's Erema North America subsidiary based in Ipswich, Massachusetts.

With orders already taken by the company, 2018 is shaping up to be another strong year, he said. It takes about five months for a typical order to be manufactured by Erema, so the company can forecast sales to some degree based on its current order book.

"We can clearly feel this, the whole circular economy, that is happening at the moment," Breuer said.

Breuer has been in the industry for seven years, but he said old-timers have told him current market conditions are historically unique.

"Old battle horses, being in the industry for 25 years, they all say they have never seen something like what has happened within the last two years. There's an enormous drive for the circular economy and for recycling, driven not only by brands, but the raw material producers and also by politics, of course," he said.

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