Hungary’s MOL Group, APK form strategic partnership for recycling multilayer plastic structures

MOL Group (Budapest) and APK AG (Merseburg, Germany) have signed a strategic cooperation agreement whereby, initially, MOL will support the completion of APK’s Merseburg recycling plant. The plant will serve as a pilot for an innovative solvent-based process, called Newcycling, which enables the recovery of high-quality plastic materials from complex multi-layer packaging.

Plastic recycling has become of critical importance to resin suppliers and the processing industry as a whole given China no longer allows the import of post-consumer plastic waste. Recycling of multilayer flexible plastic packaging structures, meanwhile, is seen as particularly challenging given the diversity of plastic and non-plastic materials employed, including adhesive layers, metallized films, barrier layers and printing inks.

Ferenc Horvath, MOL Group’s EVP for Downstream commented: “In line with MOL 2030 strategy, we are taking steps to grow our petrochemicals business and enter knowledge-intensive industries together with strategic partners. 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. Adds Horvath, “We aspire to become leaders in recycling in Central and Eastern Europe and through the agreement, we are marking the first milestone of this journey. MOL, as an established polymer player in CEE, together with an innovative partner as APK will work on further developing the Newcycling technology and bringing it to our core region where the need and the potential for plastic waste recycling is significant.”

APK has developed an innovative recycling technology named Newcycling that can be applied to a broad variety of mixed plastic types and process them into high-quality recyclates. The first Newcycling plant using APK’s core technology is currently being set-up at APK’s headquarters in Merseburg.

APK Managing Director Klaus Wohnig pointed out: “In the last couple of years, APK has developed — funded by its financial investors MIG Fonds and AT Newtec — its Newcycling technology considerably and [the technology] is reaching market maturity now, which we have proven in joint projects with leading players in the packaging, FMCG and plastics industry. We are proud to enter now into a strategic partnership with MOL in order to finalize our new plant in Merseburg and to enter jointly CEE, which we assess to be a very interesting market in future, since there is expected to be a strong trend from landfill and incineration towards recycling and a truly circular plastics economy.

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