Packaging and recycling company ALPLA has announced its plans to build a new polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recycling plant in South Africa.

The new facility is planned to be built on a 90,000m² site and will be located in the coastal town of Ballito near Durban, in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.

This is the first time ALPLA is investing in a food-grade PET recycling unit in South Africa and will also mark its first entry into the country’s recycling market altogether.

The plant is being constructed as part of ALPLA’s €60m project that aims to strengthen the circular economy across the region.

Construction of the site is scheduled to commence later this year, with the site expected to be fully operational by mid-2025.

The facility is expected to hold a recycling capacity of 60,000 tonnes (t) of PET bottles annually, with an output production of 35,000t of recycled PET (rPET) materials, including flakes and pellets.

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The company said that it will use this rPET material to mainly produce its own bottles.

The facility will further help in boosting the company’s overall annual production capacity, including all of the recycling companies and cooperations under the ALPLA brand, to an estimated 238,000t of rPET and 74,000t of recycled high-density polyethylene.

ALPLA CEO Philipp Lehner said: “Our goal is a bottle-to-bottle cycle at the location of our activities. In this way, as a recycler and producer, we can secure the supply of safe, affordable and sustainable packaging worldwide and at the same time promote awareness of the recyclable material.”

ALPLA is also partnering with local stakeholders and partners such as PETCO, a Producer Responsibility Organisation, to help with the development of the plant.

Mike Resnicek, ALPLA Africa, Middle East and Turkey Finance and Commercial director and PETCO director and board member said: “Together with PRO PETCO, who identified KwaZulu Natal as an opportunity for enterprise development, and other key stakeholders, ALPLA has been supporting the development of the collection value chain, the sensitisation of society and avoidance of landfills for years.

“Local know-how combined with a sound understanding of the cultural and economic landscape is key for such a large-scale project.”