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Borealis to acquire German plastics recycler mtm plastics GmbH and mtm compact GmbH

Borealis, a leading provider of innovative solutions in the fields of polyolefins, base chemicals and fertilizers, announces today that it has an agreement to fully acquire the German plastics recycler mtm plastics GmbH and mtm compact GmbH. This transaction is subject to regulatory approvals.

With this sell-off the Niedergebra-based plastics recycler seeks to continue its expansion, Michael Scriba, CEO of mtm, explains the acquisition: “Together with our major partner Borealis on our side, we will continue the successful growth of the last years also in the future.“ So far, mtm has established itself on the European market with its two brand-name products Dipolen® and Purpolen®.

“Plastics are simply too valuable to be disposed of in landfills. Plastic recycling provides a circular business opportunity in a growing market within a broader sustainability agenda,” explains Alfred Stern, Borealis Executive Vice President Polyolefins and Innovation & Technology. “There are many areas in which mechanical recycling of post-consumer waste make business and ecological sense. The acquisition of mtm plastics and mtm compact reflects our pro-active and dedicated “keep discovering” approach to provide specific and innovative solutions in tackling core global challenges.”

Press release from 2 June 2016

High-ranking visitor in Niedergebra: Prime Minister Ramelow is impressed by mtm

On February 5, 2016, Bodo Ramelow, Minister-President of the German State of Thuringia, paid a visit to our company together with Agriculture Minister Birgit Keller, Chief Administrative Officer of the district of Nordhausen, Matthias Jendricke, and members of the Bundestag, State Parliament and district councils of all fractions. Also present were high-ranking representatives of the University of Nordhausen, the BA, IHK and the Nordhausen business association.

On February 5, 2016, Bodo Ramelow, Minister-President of the German State of Thuringia, paid a visit to our company together with Agriculture Minister Birgit Keller, Chief Administrative Officer of the district of Nordhausen, Matthias Jendricke, and members of the Bundestag, State Parliament and district councils of all fractions. Also present were high-ranking representatives of the University of Nordhausen, the BA, IHK and the Nordhausen business association.

After a presentation, the visitors were taken on a tour of the site and the production facility, during the course of which they were given plenty of information about our company. They were particularly interested in the technology we have developed and examples of products made by our customers from our regrind material. On several occasions, they acknowledged our high level of know-how on the recycling of contaminated and mixed plastic waste into high-value products.

Talking to managing partner Torsten Meyer, the Minister-President praised the company's courage in constantly investing in increasing capacity and in growing the company despite the lack of planning security. As a result, he said, mtm was providing 90 employees with a job in a future-oriented industry. Whether he will rethink Thuringia's municipality-friendly position in the dispute over the resources act remains to be seen.

"Packaging needs a recycling-friendly design"

In the current edition of K-Profi, a trade journal for plastics processors, mtm managing partner Michael Scriba reports in detail on the topic of "recycling-friendly plastics packaging". The editor of K-Profi, Karin Regel, recently visited mtm plastics to find out for herself more about the recycling process. Afterwards she asked Scriba what packaging producers should do to ensure that more packaging is recyclable.

After all, people are calling for higher recycling quotas all the time: in the planned resources act, a quota of 72% is being targeted instead of the present 36%. As an introduction to the topic, the journal says this can only be achieved through fresh ideas and new initiatives. Scriba said he wants all packaging to be designed from the very beginning so that it is recycling-friendly. He then brings it down to a common denominator: "A pack is fundamentally suitable for high-quality recycling (…) if its specific weight deviates significantly from 1 g/cm³ in order to ensure an unambiguous result in the float/sink separation process."

Later during the discussion, the subject was discussed of the core demands on recycling-friendly packaging. They include:

  • dispensing with PET for trays because they cannot be recycled,
  • avoiding plastic-paper laminates, which are neither easy to separate nor can be processed together,
  • the sparing use of (as light as possible) pigments, because they cannot be removed from the plastics matrix,
  • dispensing with fillers such as chalk, which bring about a different density and thus make plastics identification difficult or falsify the results.

Turning his attention to the supermarket shelves, Scriba writes in K-Profi that although some things are moving in the right direction, far more should still be done to raise recycling volumes. That is why he, as a member of the bvse (Federal Association Secondary Raw Materials and Disposal) and the Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE), also spends a lot of his time attending conferences and consulting with major packaging producers to spread the word about recycling-friendly design.

More information: article in K-Profi 1-2/2016 (only in German language)

Resources Act (not) in sight

The implementation of a resources act has now been hanging in the air for a good six years. All attempts to actually introduce one have so far failed due to diverging interests. In the meantime, the third Federal Environment Minister is now trying to crack the nut. Because there is not much time left in the current legislation period, many people have already written off any prospect of getting it through. In fact, the chances have deteriorated even further since the Bundesrat decision of January 29.

The majority of states reject the draft from the Federal Environment Minister on only one point. Whereas in the so-called draft bill, the organisational sovereignty for the collection of recyclable materials lies with private enterprise, the majority of the Bundesrat follows the counterproposal of five states with a red-green government, which provides for organisational sovereignty to be in the hands of the local authorities. According to their plans, dual systems would no longer be needed. Instead, a central department would put the sorting and recycling services out to tender. Whereas local authorities and their organisations naturally support the proposal, industry and trade reject it because they fear a cost explosion.

The bvse (Federal Association Secondary Raw Materials and Disposal) is not exactly enthusiastic about the Bundesrat's "municipalisation application" either, because it foresees a squeezing out of private specialist companies. Apart from that, the probability that a resources act will be passed before the end of this legislation period has not exactly increased as a result of this resolution. The bvse had hoped that a resources act would result in a strengthening of plastics recycling, which would be supported both by including non-packaging from the same material in the collection, and by much higher quotas. Should it not prove possible to pass the act in the present legislation period, measures should be taken, in the opinion of the bvse, to at least introduce a further amendment to the packaging act with higher recycling quotas. But we have not yet given up hope, even though the present government draft would have no chance of approval in the Bundesrat. Firstly, efforts have apparently already started at political level to find a compromise and, secondly, state parliament elections are due to be held in March in three German states. If this brings about a change in the composition of the Bundesrat, the cards will be reshuffled. The experts find it difficult to say whether there would then still be time for a resources act.

Wiener: "Open up the yellow bin for other types of plastic waste"

Michael Wiener, CEO, DSD – Duales System Holding GmbH & Co. KG, Cologne:

"When the "green dot" set up the dual system in Germany in 1990, it encountered wide-ranging scepticism, particularly as far as plastics recycling was concerned: People said plastic waste from the yellow bin would not be able to be recycled in high quality and there would not be a market for these plastics anyway. A good 25 years later, the picture has completely changed. Through modern sorting and recycling technology, plastics from the dual system have attained such a high quality that the recyclate material produced from it is much in demand in industry. In some cases, demand even exceeds supply so that prices for high-quality regrind plastics will continue to rise despite low oil prices.

This pleasing development is only possible because the dual system ensures bundled material flows and high quality standards in collection and sorting. Should, as called for by some federal German states, the system become nationalised and collection become the responsibility of the local authorities, these standards would be lost. Whether the raw materials would then arrive at the plastics recyclers in the necessary quality and quantity is highly questionable. An entire industry, consisting predominantly of small and medium-sized enterprises, would be at risk. Instead of considering such plans that are hostile to the economy, we would do better to further develop the dual system, open up the yellow bin to other types of plastic waste and thus extend the raw material base, and set higher recycling targets to trigger the necessary investment in sorting and recycling. The market is crying out for raw materials – expanding recycling accordingly takes pressure off the environment, spares resources and creates jobs.

Kind regards,
Michael Wiener"

With a "New Plastics Economy" against marine litter

The British Ellen MacArthur Foundation presented a study at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January that created quite a stir. In the study, the authors warn that, if the current rate of development continues, there could be more plastic in the world's seas than fish in 2050. Every year, at least 8 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans, say the researchers, and the tendency is up. To counter this, they recommend a radical increase in recycling and a reduction in the amount of plastics dumped in Nature. What they want is no more and no less than a system change to a "New Plastics Economy". mtm has been supporting the work on the study.

The study by the British Foundation was generated in cooperation with the World Economic Forum and was supported with analyses by the consulting group, McKinsey & Company. It placed the focus on plastics packaging, which, in 2014, accounted worldwide for 311 million tons or 26 percent of total plastics production. Of the packaging – the vast majority of which is only used once – the study reveals that, worldwide, 32 percent is not covered by any disposal system, a further 40 percent is dumped on landfills, and 14 percent is used for energy production. This leaves just 14 percent that is recycled. Because further losses occur during processing, the study says that only 5 percent of the material value actually remains for further use. As a result, according to calculations by the authors, the industry is losing between 80 and 120 billion dollars a year. On top of this there are so-called external costs, which the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) conservatively estimates at 40 billion dollars.

Only a system change can halt the foreseeable development, the study continues. What is needed is a "concerted global cooperation initiative", supported by consumer goods producers, plastics and packaging manufacturers, disposal companies and recyclers, local authorities, governments and non-government organisations. As part of a "global plastic protocol", materials, formats and recycling systems need to be re-drafted and coordinated to one another. This would create standards worldwide that facilitate the separate collection, sorting and recycling. The authors also see possible solutions in technical innovations for packaging that is easier to sort and recycle, is less dependent on fossil raw materials, degrades under natural conditions, and can nevertheless also be recycled.

Unfortunately, mtm was only able to be involved in the project in the latter stages with the task of editing the work and establishing a closer link to reality. Here it became evident once again that there is too much talk about plastics recyclers and not enough talking with them.

Link to the study: http://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/publications

Sources:

  • ellenmacarthurfoundation.org
  • focus.de (12.2.2015)
  • Euwid Recycling und Entsorgung 4/2016 (26.1.2016)

mtm cooperates with edding

Since the autumn of last year, edding has also been on of mtm's customers. mtm supplies the regranulate for its EcoLine markers, which consist of 90 percent recycled plastic. Purpolen® PP is used for the production of the Permanent, Whiteboard and Flipchart markers of edding’s EcoLine range.

At this point, the philosophies of the two companies fit together very well: responsible handling of resources, conservation of raw materials and avoidance of climate-damaging emissions: "The cooperation with edding is  a perfect example of what is known in technical circles as “cascade use”, in which we recycle the products as often as possible," says mtm’s managing partner Michael Scriba, praising the new cooperation. Per Ledermann, CEO of edding AG, describes the cooperation as "an enormous success for us and above all for the environment."

For the recycling system, edding offers its customers a return box for end-of-life markers and pens. The customers can send back the box when it is full free of charge. mtm receives the collected plastic and produces from it new, high-grade polyolefins for the manufacture of new plastics products. The aluminium content is returned to the cycle. The remainder that cannot be recycled goes for energy generation.

mtm Managing Director in Dubai

mtm managing partner Dr. Michael Scriba  received an invitation to Dubai at the beginning of the year to present the mtm plastics business model at PlastiCon 2016. According to the organisers, PlastiCon is the most important conference for decision-makers in the plastics industry in the Gulf Region. The event attracted around 400 participants.

Scriba's assignment was to demonstrate, taking the example of mtm plastics, how plastics recycling can work and also be economically viable. He described the individual steps in the recycling process and explained what requirements need to be met to achieve economically successful recycling. What impressed the audience most of all were the pictures of products made from mtm’s recycled polyolefins that showed some outstanding examples of possible applications for regrind material. As often happens on such occasions, he was met with astonishment from the audience of plastics specialists when he explained the potential of polyolefins in recycling. Scriba also pointed out the problems that are still restricting the success of recycling. These include recycling-hostile product and packaging design, wrong political strategies and the lack of standardised sorting criteria. He described the unhealthy competition between Asian and European recyclers, where there is a complete lack of any level playing field.

More information: Presentation PlastiCon 2016

German plastics recycler mtm plastics supplies rPP for new “EcoLine” marker

Writing utensils producer Edding has raised its environmental and recycling activities. In October, the company expanded its “EcoLine” series by markers that contain up to 90% recyclate. Most of the regrind is sourced from mtm plastics.

The permanent, whiteboard and flipchart markers of the EcoLine range now contain mtm’s “Purpolen” rPP – a high-value, clean recyclate, which is produced using a patented sorting technology that differentiates between the type and colour of the production scrap. Purpolen is said to be particularly suitable for demanding end-user products. Aside from rPP, the product family also includes extrusion and injection moulding rHDPE grades, available in a wide range of colours. Edding’s eco-markers are available in black, red, blue and green.

News release from November, 4, 2015 (PDF, Download)

The recyclability of flexible packaging

mtm Managing Director Michael Scriba explained the current situation regarding recyclability of flexible plastic packaging in Zurich on 13 November 2015.

Scriba was invited to speak on the recyclability of flexible plastic packaging at the EAFA/FPE conference in Zurich. Scriba explained what constitutes recyclable packaging and the circumstances under which even flexible packaging can be recycled, by mtm plastics for example. 

You will find the presentation that went along with the talk here: "Recycling of flexible Packaging"  (PDF, Download)

mtm plastics at Fakuma 2015: High-quality recycled polyolefins in many colours

mtm plastics will focus on its Dipolen® and Purpolen® product lines at this year’s Fakuma in Friedrichshafen / Germany from October 13-17, stand B2/2210.

The segregated Purpolen®PE and Purpolen®PP types are of particularly high quality. Recycled polyolefins from mtm are noted for their wide field of application.

Apart from the Dipolen®PE and Dipolen®PP granulate types, which have been providing outstanding results for many years because of their flexibility and versatility, the Purpolen® granulate grades have now also become well-established on the market. mtm’s modern processing plants ensure high-purity, colour-sorted material from which mtm produces very high-grade granulate. The various extrusion and injection moulding types are also suitable for the production of B2C brand articles.

News release from August, 17, 2015 (PDF, Download)

Comments from plastics recyclers: Coloured PET packaging hinders recycling

Three plastics recycling companies, mtm plastics GmbH from Niedergebra and MulitPet GmbH and Multiport GmbH from Bernburg, have joined others in warning the European Plastics Recyclers Europe federation (PRE) that the increasing trend towards more and more colourful PET packaging is proving to be a massive hindrance to plastics recycling.

And yet the answer would be so simple: If the packaging producers were to use polypropylene (PP) or polyethylene (PE) instead, the colour would not play any role as to whether the recycling process was a success, say Michael Scriba, Managing Director of mtm, and Herbert Snell, Managing Director of MultiPet and Multiport.

PRE estimates that if the switch to coloured PET packaging that is currently being driven by the marketing people continues, an additional 300,000 or so metric tons a year of these coloured plastics could soon come on to the European market. This development is having a severe effect on the recycling process: When the coloured packaging is collected together with the transparent packaging, the coloured content has to be separated in an additional step and subsequently coloured grey or black before it can be sold. The problem is that there will be virtually no demand for such a product made of grey or black recycled PET in the foreseeable future, said Snell, confirming the appraisal of the European federation. "In a recyclate market that is already under pressure anyway, the extra sorting costs would be almost impossible to bear," he added.

PE/PP recyclers are also watching the new development with concern: "We, too, are being saddled with more and more PET packaging that was previously produced from easy-to-recycle polyethylene or polypropylene. This not only reduces our valuable input, it also causes additional expense because we have to separate the material and dispose of it at extra cost," explained Scriba from recyclate producer, mtm plastics.

The advice of the recycling experts is unequivocal: Bottles intended for e.g. cleaning agents, shampoos or cosmetics should be produced from PP or HDPE. The substitution of PP and PS in the tray segment by PET is, in their opinion, a negative example of the development that is now also expected with bottles. The PET tray and blister packs are currently being almost entirely incinerated instead of being turned into a new raw material for the plastics processing industry. The reason is the colour and the multi-layer structure of the packs. And yet product designers have complete colour design freedom if they use PE or PP polyolefins for the packaging, because these plastics have proved absolutely unproblematic for recycling for many years now, say the recycling companies.

News releas from May 29,2015 (PDF, Download)

(Photo: pixelio.de / © H. Siepmann)

Scriba at Identiplast: We need more input

Michael Scriba was invited to present his view of things at the Identiplast Show on April 29, 2015 in Rome. He did so with his customary commitment and incisiveness. His key message was that we are recycling far too little in Europe to be able to meet the strong demand for recycled plastics.

Only four percent of European demand can be met with recycled plastics, said Scriba referring to figures from Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE). And why? Because only 26 percent of European plastic waste is recycled and 50 percent of the collected plastics is exported to other countries in Europe. Yet four percent was far too little to be able to meet the demand – in the meantime also from one or two major plastics processors. Something needs to be done urgently so that plastics recyclers can get hold of more material for high-quality recycled plastics.

Scriba listed several parties that should act: Politicians should ensure through more stringent regulations that no more plastics end up on landfills and that incineration no longer remains the easiest way to get rid of plastics. Staggered landfill and incineration levies together with country-specific recycling quotas could pave the way for this. He also called on the trade and brand companies as well as filling and bottling firms to pay more attention to recyclability in their product design. Finally, he said, the task for communities was to simplify and standardise the collection and sorting of their plastic waste, because speeding up the collection is an "absolute must". Having said that, recyclers and their suppliers still have to work out together how to avoid the risk of declining quality that inevitably comes with increasing volumes. The "Total plastics sorting" concept practiced by mtm in dialogue with sorting plants was one possibility. With simplified processing, it ensures optimised polyolefin recycling with comparatively high yields. Yet in this respect, there were no limits to recyclers’ creativity.

For more information, please download the presentation by Dr Michael Scriba, Recycling in Europe, Identiplast 2015.

Provocation from FCC Environment: "Incineration is the treatment of choice"

The British disposal company, FCC Environment, is at present fuelling the conflict in the European plastics recycling sector. FCC's marketing boss, Kristian Dales, describes incineration as "the method of choice".

In a company statement, FCC's marketing boss, Kristian Dales, contradicted the opinion of Helmut Maurer from the EU Commission's waste and recycling department who is convinced that the use of plastic waste for energy production should only be the final option, when recycling is no longer possible. Dales, on the other hand, sheds doubt on the marketability of recycling, and describes incineration as the method of choice.

It's all very well to advocate recycling, says Dales, but there is simply no economically viable market for it. In view of the weakening of global feedstock markets and the present downward spiralling of oil prices, which is already having a negative effect on the demand for recycled plastic, he does not see any stable underlying conditions for investment. In any case, there are not sufficient processing capacities in the UK for large recycling volumes. As a result, recycling quotas in that country are stagnating, and, apart from that, the legal initiatives to stimulate the secondary raw material market are nowhere to be seen. Against this background, it was a "challenge" to invest in new recycling plants. Dales is therefore proceeding on the assumption that income from recycling will decline. In contrast, energy recovery could be worthwhile. In the UK, there is lively demand for substitute fuels from overseas incineration plants. Low freight costs and a strong British pound were additionally pushing export demand. Dales regrets that the UK, which imports energy, is losing this value of substitute fuels because there is no domestic market for it.

In a recent press release, Ton Emans, President of Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE), vehemently condemned the endeavour to encourage the incineration of plastic waste. Incineration and landfills, he said, lag well behind the options of reuse and recycling in the waste hierarchy, which, after all, constitutes the basis for European waste legislation. Products that can no longer be reused and thus become waste should therefore, in the first instance, be recycled. The existing market constraints along the value chain must be overcome. In this respect, PRE is very hopeful of support from the EU Commission's new waste management package.

That more would be possible in the UK, too, if people only wanted it, is to be the topic of a new seminar at the British Plastics Federation (BPF). BPF, with around 400 members from the entire value chain right the way through to recyclers (link: BPFRG), is the most important association in the UK plastics industry. The event, entitled "Recycling the Unrecyclable" will explain to the delegates the state of the art that will ensure that material previously classified as "unrecyclable" is returned to the economic cycle. In the UK, a considerable quantity of plastic waste is labelled "unrecyclable" because it is either technically "too difficult" to recycle or is simply economically unviable.

Sources:

Maurer: "More recycling and more recyclable products – now"

Prof. Dr. Helmut Maurer, European Commission, DG Environment, Waste Management and Recycling, Brussels

"More recycling and more recyclable products – now"

Europe is a continent with few natural resources. We should concentrate on using our resources as efficiently and as sparingly as possible. Incinerating products at the end of their lifecycle should therefore only be carried out strictly in accordance with the waste hierarchy if there is absolutely no other possibility for putting them to use. Only in this way is the current European waste management legislation to be interpreted. Any ideas, such as those rearing their heads again at the present time, to declare the incineration of waste – and especially plastics – a key factor for safeguarding energy will inevitably harbour the risk of stimulating the demand for incineration and contradicting the legal duty for more recycling. An energy policy that relies on a given basic quantity of waste and a waste policy that aims primarily to avoid it are an obvious contradiction.

The European waste policy is currently under scrutiny. The Commission has announced that it wants to drive forward the change to a closed-loop economy even more ambitiously than before. What we need is not a minor reform but a radical paradigm change. In order to get away from a linear economy to a closed-loop economy, we need products that are long-lasting, reusable, repairable and, at the end of it all – where possible – 100% recyclable. Especially the latter point is a major challenge because we cannot achieve this solely with waste policy instruments such as higher recycling quotas. What is needed is more courage to provide a product policy with requirements that allow sustainable products. It is the task of the Commission to set the course correctly. 2015 could thus be an historic year.

Kind regards
Helmut Maurer

Caveat: This article does not reflect the position of the European Commission in any way, but is exclusively an expression of the author's opinions.

Founding of GBP Quality GmbH: In the name of quality

At the beginning of the year, mtm, together with a number of other well-known recycling companies, set up a company to tackle the problem that has remained unsolved for many years, namely the best way to monitor the quality of the supplied bale material. It is common market knowledge that the quality of such products is repeatedly found to be lacking. With the newly established GBP Quality GmbH, things should now start to change. The Managing Director is Dr. Dirk Textor.

The structure of contracts signed between dual systems and recyclers is rather strange, says the Managing Director of the new company, Dr. Dirk Textor, who is also the Chairman of the bvse plastics recycling federation, because it is the customer – in this case the plastics recycler – who has the job of checking the quality of the supplied material. As a rule, however, this is a very difficult task because, in order to change anything with regard to the apparently poor quality, he would basically have to examine the goods almost continuously and then submit a string of complaints, which would more or less paralyse his production. Another problem was publicised by the bvse working group on mixed plastics two years ago, namely the outdated sorting criteria, which basically stem from the year 1991. These need to be urgently adapted to the current state of recycling technology, said the AG members back in 2013 and submitted a list of demands on this subject. One of the requirements in this list was that plastic waste should no longer be stored out in the open, and that it should be possible to reject material that is too damp. Sorting plants should have to document their suitability every year by certification. Furthermore, the catalogue contains a number of initial concrete proposals on sorting requirements and on tolerated impurity contents.

Despite this, not much has happened since then. In order to make progress on the matter of quality, several plastic recyclers have now founded the GBP Quality GmbH, which aims first of all to document the quality of the supplied bale material and thus gather objective data. In the next step, the data are to be evaluated with the support of Magdeburg University and Professor Susanne Gerke. The aim is to develop from these findings new specifications that are better suited to the modern requirements and to find a simplified testing procedure.

GBP Quality GmbH offers its services to interested parties, including recycling companies, sorting plants and communities.

For more information, please contact: textor(at)textorkunststoff.de

Statement from mtm: Hearing in the NRW state parliament

In March, mtm was asked by the NRW state parliament to attend a hearing to tackle possibilities for promoting the recycling of plastics. The CDU party had initiated the hearing at the beginning of the year by submitting an application. The mtm Managing Director, Dr. Michael Scriba, gave answers to the questions in parliament, and also pushed for measures that can ensure greater security of investment through fair competition with incineration, and also provide for a reliable supply of raw material that meets defined quality standards.

To begin with, Scriba made it clear that the waste product hierarchy (waste avoidance, reuse, recycling, other utilisation, disposal), which was written into Germany’s waste management act from the EU waste product directive, did not have any practical significance – especially not for plastics. No-one could deny that the minimum calorific value defined there – which has to be complied with by plastics generally – encouraged incineration rather than recycling.

To promote plastics recycling more effectively, he said, measures were needed that provide for greater investment security. At present, there was a lack of recycling capacities in Germany because companies could not recognise any reliable price structure. The decline in prices, especially with the disposal of commercial waste, due to overcapacities in domestic waste incineration had been hindering recycling for many years. No German recycler could compete with the low disposal costs, as he also had to cope with high energy costs and stringent environmental regulations. It was very difficult to fight against measures such as minimum recycling quotas, pre-treatment regulations and sorting requirements. According to Scriba, the only thing that could help would be to define a maximum calorific value for commercial waste for disposal, coupled with an incineration levy if this value were not observed. The resultant income could flow into a fund from which, for example, any downtime costs for excess incineration capacities could be covered.

Scriba continued that, in addition, safeguards relating to raw material supplies and defined quality standards for plastic waste were necessary to achieve greater investment security. To ensure adequate capacity utilisation of their plants, however, the recycling companies need sufficiently long contract running times. In view of the low incineration prices, however, their negotiating position was exceedingly weak. To define quality standards as are usual, for example, with glass, metal or paper, but were still lacking for plastics, a committee should be set up consisting of recyclers, logistic experts and collection points to jointly define criteria that take into account above all the requirements of product legislation. Here, too, Scriba would like to see a "political boost".

On the question of suitable recycling quotas, Scriba advocates something between an input-related and output-related quota. The argument against a quota that relates to the input volume is the lack of quality criteria because water or non-reusable material is also included. The argument against a quota related to the output volume is the practice of material mixing, in which the product fails to comply with the specified quality. However, tracking these product flows right the way through to the end product involves disproportionate cost. Apart from that, the companies would have to reveal production secrets that have nothing whatsoever to do with the packaging regulations. Nobody does that voluntarily. For this reason, Scriba favours a compromise solution: an input-related quota that includes flat-rate reductions e.g. for moisture or impurities that are confirmed by neutral tests.

Plastics recycling – now is the time!

An organised recycling system is essential if plastic is to be the material of the future, says Karl-H. Foerster from PlasticsEurope.

In the opinion of the Executive Director of PlasticsEurope (Brussels), now is the time to focus on the importance of an organized, efficiently functioning recycling system. Recent statements by the new EU Commission on its waste policy presumably triggered this emphatic response, which was published as the guest comment in Kunststoff Information on March 6, 2015. Read more:

Karl-H. Foerster, Plastics recycling - now is the time! (pdf, 137 KB)

mtm plastics continues to grow

mtm plastics intends to continue with its growth strategy. By the end of 2016, Europe’s leading producer of recycled polyolefins from mixed plastic waste plans to invest around 8 million euros in the expansion of its production facilities in Niedergebra. Around 20 new jobs will be created as a result. Two more halls, which will extend the granulate warehouse, are under construction and should be ready by February 2015.

mtm currently produces some 30,000 metric tons of granulate in Niedergebra with a workforce of 88. From 2016, around 110 employees will provide for an output of nearly 40,000 tons. For the planned growth in sales, however, mtm will focus not only higher volumes but also on improved quality in order to gain a higher price for the granules.

On completion of the new warehouses, the company will shift its attention to enlarging the production area by some 20,000 square metres. This will mean extending the present production hall by 20 metres and demolishing the administration building that now stands there. A new administration building will be erected elsewhere.

But mtm is also thinking further ahead, beyond 2016. Within the next five years, the company plans to build a second plant at a new location because its site in Niedergebra is no longer big enough. If the conditions allow, mtm wants to locate the new plant in the same region – in the Nordhausen district of Thuringia.

Recoup Recycling Conference

mtm’s Managing Partner Michael Scriba recently gave a speech at this year’s Recoup’s Plastics Recycling Conference at Peterborough, UK titled "Plastics Reprocessing – A Voice From The Continent"

Michael had been invited to speak at Recoup’s Plastics Recycling Conference on September, 25th at Peterborough, UK, with some 250  international experts listening. His task was - with the German experience in mind - to take a look at the current developments in the UK. In "Plastics Reprocessing – A Voice From The Continent" he identified weaknesses of the German packaging collection system, explained some basic principles in collection and sorting which need to be respected in order to ensure successful plastic recycling. He finished his statement with a look the present situation in Great Britain.

For the presentation click here.

More information: www.recoup.org/p/226/plastics-conference-2014

mtm signs up

mtm plastics has signed up to the Thuringia Sustainability Agreement (NAT), a voluntary covenant between the government of the German State of Thuringia and businesses located in Thuringia.

NAT brings together politics, administration and industry and covers the topics of climate and environmental protection, the conservation of resources, and energy efficiency.

Common to all the companies and organisations that have signed the sustainability agreement is the joint understanding of what promotes sustainable development, namely the careful and responsible handling of natural resources, oriented by a sense of responsibility to subsequent generations. mtm plastics embraces these principles every day – with the production of resource-sparing raw materials.

For more information visit www.nachhaltigkeitsabkommen.de

23,000 times around the Earth

Together with Multiport and MultiPet, mtm has calculated how many tons of CO2 are avoided every year with their products. The answer: 166,000 metric tons! That corresponds to the emissions from a mid-class car that drives 23,000 times around the world.

Every ton of recycled plastic that is used instead of the comparable virgin material avoids between 1.45 and 3.22 metric tons of climate-relevant greenhouse gases in the form of CO2 equivalents. This was calculated by a research team from the University of Magdeburg-Stendal on behalf of the three plastics recycling companies, mtm plastics GmbH, Multiport GmbH and MultiPet GmbH. For the first time, the study calculated for plastics recyclers the emissions saved for the most commonly used plastics in packaging recycling, namely PE/PP blends, HDPE and PET. This means that the recycled polyolefins from mtm plastics from Niedergebra save 2.19 metric tons, the HDPE recyclate from Multiport based in Bernburg, 1.45 metric tons, and the PET flakes from neighbouring MultiPet, 3.22 metric tons of greenhouse gas per used ton of recyclate compared with the primary material. Calculated on a yearly basis, this is a huge amount: The recyclate material marketed by the three companies together avoid over 166,000 tons of greenhouse gases in the form of CO2 equivalents because they are being used instead of virgin material. This corresponds to the volume emitted by a mid-size car* travelling around the Earth some 23,000 times.

*) The assumed mid-class car consumes 6.8 litres of diesel per 100 km and emits 0.18 kg of CO2 per kilometre.

More information: Joint news release from the companies involved

Purpolen® hits the market

The Purpolen® product line newly developed by mtm has been meeting with a very favourable response from our customers.

At the end of last year, we launched the new Purpolen® line, for which our starting products are strictly sorted according to colour and type of plastic. The resultant PP and HDPE granules have convincing properties in terms of their MFI, extrudability and above all colouring properties. The experiences gained by our customers since January with these materials confirm the quality and scope of application of this product range.

We invested last year in a new production line. Since January this year, we have been running the new Purpolen® product line at full capacity alongside the familiar Dipolen® line. The very positive feedback we have since received from our customers concerning the quality and extended fields of application of the new regranulate shows we were right to further expand our capacities for Purpolen®. For this purpose, we acquired major components of the SORTEC facility, which at that time had been installed by Duale System Deutschland as a project at the EXPO 2000 World Exhibition in Hanover, and, since then, had been constantly modernised. It is now being used in modified, modernised form at our plant in Niedergebra to expand our production capacity. The forecast capacity requirements for Purpolen® demonstrate once again that mtm's strategy of developing into a plastics producer is the right one, says Managing Director Torsten Meyer, who is responsible for technology matters.

The base materials for Purpolen® are HDPE and PP plastic waste, which we obtain among other things from household waste collections. We process it at our plant in several stages, sorting it according to colour and type of plastic, before it goes for extrusion. The end-result is a regranulate material suitable for the production of high-quality products, also for the consumer segment. We can always comply with customer requests for specific colours and properties.

RecyClass: Online aid for packaging designers

At Interpack, one of the world's biggest trade fairs for the packaging industry, which took place from May 8 – 14 in Düsseldorf, Germany, a new online tool was presented for designers of plastics packaging, namely RecyClass, a "recycling label" for plastics packaging.

Online, designers can find out in a few steps with the help of a set of questions how readily their planned packaging can be recycled and where they can make improvements.

It is the designers who take the first important step for the improved recycling of plastic packaging. The motivation for Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE) for developing RecyClass was to support them, sensitise them to aspects of recyclability and also give them a practical tool to assist them. Plastic recycling players such as mtm have also been involved by contributing their experiences in compiling criteria lists and evaluation methods. At the end of the process, the user obtains a grading of his product in terms of its recyclability. The interactive Web tool also allows the input data to be modified to see how this improves the product’s recyclability.

For more information, visit http://recyclass.eu/

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It is the designers who take the first major step in improving the recyclability of plastics packaging. The main aims of "RecyClass" are to give them the necessary support, sensitise them to aspects of recyclability, and provide them with a practicable tool for this purpose. The tool, developed by PRE, is an interactive online questionnaire to help designers and manufacturers establish how recycling-friendly their packaging is.

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mtm gives preference to pre-sorted plastic waste of polyethylene and polypropylene.

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Susanne Kaufhold, Customer Service

mtm plastics GmbH

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