Veolia PET Germany GmbH plans to shut down its recycling facility for post-consumer PET bottles in north-eastern Germany on 31 December 2023 in response to the long-lasting slump in the market. The closure is due to the “lack of long-term security” for the production site in Rostock, which has been operating for more than 20 years, Veolia said on Thursday. Around 50 employees will be affected by the closure.
Late last year, Veolia had already announced it would be scaling back production in Rostock. The facility operates using URRC's "UnPet" process, which was co-developed by Coca-Cola and produces recycled PET (rPET) suitable for food contact applications. The plant can recycle around 36,000 tonnes of PET bottles per year.
Veolia said the “difficult decision” came after assessing the market and the willingness to close the loop for PET beverage bottles. The company said it had not succeeded in securing long-term sales of recycled PET in collaboration with the beverage industry and/or grocery retailers. The willingness of all market participants to commit to long-term purchase agreements for recycled PET at economically viable conditions is the “prerequisite for a closed PET loop”, according to the recycler. “In this volatile environment, the sustained, economically viable operation of a PET recycling plant is not possible for Veolia.”
Veolia PET Germany GmbH is one of the leading PET recycling companies in Europe. Its production sites in Frauenfeld (Switzerland), Fetsund (Norway), Norrköping (Sweden) and the Hamburg-based central marketing unit for all plants are not affected by the closure.
Last week, a Veolia subsidiary agreed to sell its 50 per cent stake in Quality Circular Polymers (QCP) to its joint venture partner Lyondell-Basell, which will become the plastics recycling company’s sole owner.