Closing loops, saving resources, protecting the climate

The time has come. The groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a new recycling plant on the site of the Knapsack Chemical Park near Cologne has taken place. This plant will separate and recycle the foil mixture of polyethylene (PE) and aluminium (Al) as well as the plastic closures after the detaching of the paper fibres.

Now we fetch the rest:
PE-aluminium recycling of used beverage cartons

More than three million tons of beverage cartons have been recycled in Germany until today. The cellulose fibres recovered are longer and stronger than most other types of recycled paper and are thus particularly well suited for the manufacture of corrugated board.

Detaching the paper fibres creates residual materials in the paper mill. These predominantly consist of a foil mixture of polyethylene (PE) and aluminium (AL) as well as high density polyethylene (HDPE) originating from the caps. This so-called reject has so far mostly been thermally recycled in cement plants. The producers of beverage cartons are now taking the recycling of the foil remnants into their own hands. For this purpose, Palurec GmbH was founded as a wholly owned subsidiary of Fachverband Getränkekartons für flüssige Nahrungsmittel e.V. (FKN), which has invested in the construction of a recycling plant. With the commissioning of the plant, all of the materials used will be returned to a cycle; the recycling rate of beverage cartons will increase to far beyond 90%.

Palurec – Why?

Low prices for primary plastics pose a particular challenge to manufacturers of recycled plastics: After the failure of various processing concepts to establish themselves on a sustainable basis, Palurec GmbH set itself the goal of producing viable secondary raw materials, even in a tough market environment.

Palurec - Key Facts

Palurec Logo
Establishment December 2017
Shareholder Fachverband Kartonverpackungen für flüssige Nahrungsmittel e.V. (FKN)
Location Knapsack Chemical Park near Cologne
Start of construction July 2018
Commissioning Spring 2020
Investment 8 m. €
Capacity 18.000 tons (first stage)
Employees 25
Project development KDVW GmbH & Co. KG Bielefeld
Implementation WIPA WERKZEUG- UND MASCHINENBAU GMBH, Stadtlohn MH Immobilien Betriebs GmbH & Co. KG, Herschbach

Who is the FKN?

Logo FKN

The association, founded in 1981 and based in Berlin, represents the common interest of the beverage carton producers: its members are SIG Combibloc, Tetra Pak and Elopak. They constitute about 95% of beverage cartons distributed in Germany and have been heavily involved in the construction and development of the recycling infrastructure of used beverage cartons since the launch of the Dual Systems. For this purpose, ReCarton GmbH was founded as early as 1991. It functions as a service provider for the dual system companies organising the sale and logistics of beverage cartons from household collections.

Beverage carton recycling - How it works

Use of secondary raw materials

Paper fibres
The fibrous material produced from used beverage cartons when processing paper is of high quality. The average fibre length is 1.55 mm. By comparison: fluted board: 1.15 mm, recovered graphic paper: 0.99 mm. If all the fibres are not separated from the foil in the paper mill, they will be washed off in the Palurec recycling plant and are then available as a raw material.

Low density polyethylene is suitable for injection moulding applications, for manufacturing foil or compounding.

Hard density polyethylene can be used in HDPE applications (non-food) after cleaning.

Suitable as an additive for castings or as an aggregate in the varnish and construction material sectors.

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