MOL, APK join forces to advance multilayer packaging recycling

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APK's pilot plant in Merseburg

APK AG’s innovative plastics recycling technology is gaining momentum with the announcement of a second collaboration agreement in less than ten days.

The Leipzig, Germany-based company has formed a partnership with Hungarian materials supplier MOL Group to advance plastics recycling.

As part of the partnership, MOL will support the completion of an 8,000-tonne pilot plant in Merseburg, Germany, which employs APK’s patented ‘Newcycling' technology, a solvent-based physical recycling process that enables the different polymer types in multi-layer plastics and mixed plastic waste to be separated. 

The move is part of MOL’s long-term 2030 strategy, which entails diversifying the company away from fossil-based motor fuels.

To that end, the group plans to increase its non-fuel production in refining from the current 30% to 50% of total output, mainly through increasing feedstock transfer to chemicals. 

To reinforce its aim of becoming a CEE leader in petrochemicals and chemicals, MOL plans to invest up to $4.5bn (€3.8bn) in 5-year cycles in its petrochemical segment by 2030.

The focus for the next five years will be largely on the extension of the propylene value chain. And, with sustainable development a priority, the Hungarian group is also entering knowledge intensive industries together with strategic partners, said Ferenc Horvath, MOL Group’s EVP for Downstream.

“We see a growing demand from our customers for recycled plastics and at the same time we are also fully-committed to the idea of circular economy and sustainability,” Horvath went on to say. 

The partnership between MOL and APK is one that will provide mutual benefits: MOL Group aspires to become a leader in recycling in the CEE, while APK sees the region as an “interesting market in the future” and MOL, with its strong roots there, as the ‘perfect partner’.

Moreover, plastic packaging is one of the key strategic segments defined in MOL’s 2030 'Enter Tomorrow Strategy' and a sector where both partners recognise a growing demand for recycled materials.

“There is expected to be a strong trend away from landfill and incineration towards recycling and a truly circular plastics economy [in CEE],” noted APK management board speaker Klaus Wohnig.

Funded by its financial investors MIG Fonds and AT Newtec, APK has developed its Newcycling technology over the past two years and is reaching market maturity now.

The collaboration with MOL follows another recent APK partnership with a leading materials supplier.

On 24 July, DSM Engineering Plastics, part of the materials arm of the Netherlands-based Royal DSM, announced that it was joining forces with the German recycling company to advance its recycling ambitions.

According to the company APK has plans – currently in the conceptual phase – to build further facilities with partners in the future. The company already announced plans last year to set up five plastics recycling plants in Europe and South Asia by 2025.

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