Interview with Manfred Hackl: The EREMA Group drives a new era in plastics recycling

Erema Group

Q: How does the EREMA Group see the future?

MH: In the past business year 2022/23 alone, the extruders supplied by the companies within the EREMA Group deliver an additional 1.6 million tonnes of recycling capacity. Our vision is that by 2030 the circular economy in plastics is a reality. That is why the recycling industry needs to continue developing and evolving. This will require new technologies and innovations to set positive signs for the future, even in the current challenging times for our customers.

The whole industry is working on solutions, including a reduction in the use of raw materials, plastic packaging that is designed for recycling, traceability standards for packaging, more efficient collection and sorting processes, and innovative technical solutions for higher recyclate quality. As a result, people in the value chain are gaining an ever better overall understanding of the market.

This is accelerating the developments towards more recycling and a better circular economy. With our group of companies, we would like to play a central role in this, actively shaping the future as a real driver in the new era of plastics recycling.

Q: What do you mean specifically when you talk about driving a new era of plastics recycling?

MH: Circular economy and plastics recycling are key topics in politics, day-to-day life and business. Only once the circular economy has been properly implemented will it be possible to fully utilise all the positive properties of plastics. And that is what the EREMA Group has been striving for since it was founded 40 years ago.

In recent years, we have become a pioneer in recycling technologies, and we have worked very hard to bring together stakeholders in the plastics industry for discussion and interaction. At the EREMA Group we have also broadened our product portfolio for our customers. We are well integrated into networks and can rely on long-term partnerships and research cooperations. This means that we are able to understand even better what it is that our customers need. At the same

time, however, it is essential that we take the entire value chain into consideration. We need to include the whole picture to create better recycling technologies and optimum solutions for our customers.

Q: What does that involve?

MH: We will continue to expand our group of companies. Our next goal is to further increase the extent of added value with a clear focus on the polyolefin sector and to set further industry benchmarks. To get from waste material to recycled pellets, potential new raw materials need to go through several different recycling processes. The processes range from sorting, shredding, washing and drying to extrusion including filtration and compounding as well as odour optimisation. The challenge lies precisely in the optimum fine-tuning of all the individual recycling steps - especially when high quality recyclate and consistent stability as well as energy efficiency are to be achieved. With our company KEYCYCLE GmbH, we already offer turnkey solutions for the entire recycling process including sorting, washing and extrusion. We see the next step as an important stepping stone in perfectly matching the washing process and the recycling extruder. This will enable us to offer all-in-one packages that are custom-built to meet the requirements of the market and the needs of our customers.