For more than 25 years, Rymoplast nv has specialized in the recycling of plastic materials. We mainly receive LDPE packaging material that we sort, grind, wash and finally process into recycled granules: regranulate. These granules can then be used to make new film. In this way we offer certain markets a fully-fledged alternative to replace new raw materials in full or in part.
The big challenge we face in our industry today is to find a solution for the used and slightly contaminated ('post-consumer') film waste. Until recently, most of this waste was exported to Asia, but due to new legislation we now have to process much of it within Europe. On the one hand, this means that the recycling industry must build up its capacity to handle this additional demand. On the other hand, we have to look for new applications to reuse those recycled raw materials.
With the support of Flanders Circular, we invested in a new state-of-the-art washing plant, unique in Flanders. This allowed us to increase the quality of our recycled raw materials. In addition to our traditional markets such as garbage bags and agricultural foil, we can now, in cooperation with a number of partners, focus on a whole range of high-quality new applications. By offering partners more and more high-quality alternatives for new materials, we can make a substantial contribution to the circular economy in Flanders.
Our partner Van der Windt Verpakkingen brings garbage bags made from our recycled plastic to the market. They are made from a three-layer film that makes them particularly strong and makes them an increasingly better alternative to garbage bags made from new raw materials.
Using the recycled plastic from our new washing line, the first e-commerce bags were developed, as well as new shrink sleeves for packaging PET bottles. These new packaging products both consist of at least 50% of our recycled raw material.
In collaboration with Wienerberger, Valipac, Total, Fema, Oerlemans and Go4Circle, a new shrink sleeve has also been developed for the packaging of building materials. This also contains at least 50% of our raw material.
Thanks to the new washing line, our site in Lommel was able to take a big step forward after 29 years: from processing post-industrial waste (industrial surpluses) to post-consumer waste (used and slightly contaminated film). In terms of employment, we also created 5.5 additional jobs in Lommel.
MOST IMPORTANT LESSONS LEARNED
It is important to follow the market closely and analyze what needs exist. For example, the market for post-industrial waste does have a stable, constant demand, but with little growth. The market for post-consumer waste, on the other hand, is growing strongly due to various factors, such as declining export opportunities, political pressure ... There is a lot of dynamism within the plastic market and we are right in the middle of it. Our investment in the new washing line has enabled us to tap into a new market segment.
We have to dare to be critical and admit that our washing line can only handle a small part of that post-consumer waste. The clothesline is made for lightly soiled waste with a paper label. Once there is household or organic waste in between, it no longer suffices. We realize that Europe needs to move even more towards mono-materials that are more recyclable. This could solve many problems that we still regularly encounter today.
1new state-of-the-art clothesline
8.000tons of additional plastic film processed
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
For us, this new recycling solution is certainly successful. We support Europe's decision to stop shipping our plastic waste to Asia and to start processing it structurally within Europe. We therefore believe that current and new markets will have a greater demand for recycled post-consumer raw materials. That is why we recently decided to invest in a third car wash as an extension of the existing capacity.
Furthermore, we continue to expand our processes in order to meet the market demand as best we can. Several projects and developments with partners are currently in progress.