APK AG, a Merseburg, Germany-based chemical recycler that has developed a proprietary solvent-based recycling technology for low density polyethylene (LDPE), has entered into a strategic partnership with
LyondellBasell and KIRKBI A/S, the family-owned holding and investment company of the Lego brand.
Under the terms of the collaboration, both LyondellBasell and KIRKBI will become minority shareholders in APK. Together with other co-investors, they plan to invest equity capital of €130M in the recycling company.
The aim of this agreement is to establish APK’s Newcycling technology, developed and patented for the recycling of multi-layer flexible packaging materials, in the market. Also, the companies will be exploring the possibilities of increasing APK’s production capacity by building additional Newcyling Plants.
APK’s solvent process enables the separation of the different polymers used in the different layers of multi-layer packaging, creating material streams with a high degree of purity. The company produces high-quality plastic granulates and compounds from pre- and post-consumer plastic waste that are suitable for new packaging applications.
“Our Newcycling technology makes it possible to close the loop even with complex waste streams and to produce high-quality LDPE recyclates from mixed plastic waste - highly efficient and offering both economic and ecological advantages,” noted Susanne Küppers, member of the executive board of APK AG and managing director of APK NCC
Since June 2022, it has also been operating a research and development centre near Frankfurt to further develop its recycling technology.
According to Yvonne van der Laan, LyondellBasell executive vice president of Circular and Low Carbon Solutions, this technology has the potential both to enable more plastic packaging waste to be reintroduced back into the value chain and and to address the demand from consumers and brand owners for more sustainable packaging.
“Products made using this unique Newcycling solvent-based technology will be a great complementary addition to our existing Circulen product portfolio, which currently offers mechanical and advanced recycling solutions to our customers,” she explained.
Damir Hamzic, head of the Circular Plastics Investment area in KIRKBI, which focuses on investments that contribute to the transition to a more circular plastics economy, added that KIRKBI believes APK offers a promising scalable technology in LDPE recycling that can help increase the circularity of plastics and minimize plastic waste, to contribute to a more sustainable environment in the future.
“We look forward to providing strategic, financial and commercial support while APK establishes technology that will complement mechanical and chemical recycling," he said.
APK was founded in 2008 and currently employs around 220 people.