SUEZ opens Europe's most advanced packaging sorting facility in Germany

SUEZ opened Europe's most advanced packaging sorting facility for lightweight packaging in Ölbronn, Germany, together with Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. With an annual processing capacity of 100,000 tonnes, this facility with cutting-edge technology, as an innovative optical system, meets new German requirements by optimising the sorting of waste streams for a better waste recovery.

The waste streams collected by local authorities are constantly growing and diversifying. This is why, users and local authorities have a key role to play in improving sorting in order to meet increasingly ambitious European targets for recycling and preparation for reuse set at 70% of municipal waste by 2030. In this context, the waste management stage is an essential link in increasing the proportion of recyclable waste. 

Since January, 1st 2019, German legislation has strongly encouraged the development of recycling activities with a recycling rate now set at 50% for lightweight packaging in circulation and 58.5% for plastics. At European level, legislation stipulates to recycle 65% of municipal waste by 2035. Anticipating the entry into force of this legislation, SUEZ has developed a packaging sorting facility that brings together the very latest solutions. Thanks to an innovative optical sorting system, the Ölbronn facility can accurately sort up to 14 different categories of material, including 9 types of plastic. 

The annual processing capacity (100,000 tonnes) is equivalent to the quantity of lightweight packaging thrown away each year by more than 3 million German citizens. By optimising the identification, separation and preparation of materials in order to optimise their recovery, the recycling is more efficient making it possible to obtain a secondary raw material, the quality of which is the same as or higher than that of the virgin material. In 2018, SUEZ has sorted up around 8 million tons of waste in Europe. 

Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, welcomes the Group commitment “With the new sorting plant, SUEZ, an important player in environmental services, actively contributes to the successful implementation of the Packing Act”.

This agreement strengthens the presence of SUEZ in Germany where, through its collection activities, the Group provides services to nearly 5.1 million people and more than 22,000 commercial and industrial customers. In 2018, it also processed nearly 900,000 tonnes of waste here.


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