Joint venture aims to create Norway’s first dedicated sorting plant to enable plastic packaging circularity

plastic recyclate

Technology and recycling equipment firm TOMRA has signed a majority ownership agreement with Plastretur, the Norwegian Producer Responsibility Organisation for recycling plastic packaging. The companies will pair up to create a plastic packaging sorting plant located in Norway. The 50M EUR (~600MNOK) joint venture will be split 65 per cent TOMRA and 35 per cent Plastretur.

In 2020, Plastretur set out its ambitions to establish a sorting infrastructure within Norway as plastic packaging waste from Norway is currently sent to Central Europe. TOMRA was chosen on the strength of its expertise in the design of advanced sorting facilities, with extensive knowledge of creating circular solutions to enable recycling.

TOMRA says this investment “will specifically seek to close the gap in plastics recycling where there is strong and growing demand from recyclers for high-quality plastic fractions.”

“I am thrilled to be working on this initiative, which will play a key role in transitioning Norway’s plastic packaging into a circular economy,” says Joachim N. Amland, SVP TOMRA Feedstock. “We are recovering material that would otherwise have been lost to incineration and, using our existing TOMRA technology, we are supplying it to the market at very high quality levels.”

This will be seemingly the first dedicated plastic packaging sorting plant in Norway to accept municipal sourced-separated and mechanically recovered mixed plastic waste. The plastics “will be sorted into seven polymer types which will be processed into high-quality fractions that are ready to be used in the production of new packaging and other high-quality products.”

Under the new venture, Plastretur will continue to take responsibility for sourcing plastic packaging waste from Norwegian municipalities, trade and industry, and will deliver this to the plant as infeed. TOMRA will be responsible for grading the fractions based on type and selling the plastic output.

“On behalf of Plastretur, I am proud that our initiative to build a Norwegian plastic sorting plant is being realised,” states CEO of Plastretur, Karl Johan Ingvaldsen. “The plant will be the cornerstone in building the national infrastructure Norway needs to achieve future recycling targets. With this plant we are playing a major part in building a Norwegian plastic recycling industry and reducing the cross-border transport of waste.”

The total sorting capacity planned for the new site will be 90,000 tonnes of plastics per year, and it will be built in Holtskogen Næringspark, Indre Østfold Holtskogen, Norway (near Oslo). The capital investment consists primarily of machinery and equipment. Construction work on the new plant is scheduled to start in mid-2023. The plant is due to be commissioned in Q4 2024 and to be fully operational by Q1 2025.

“We must move towards a circular economy now,” says Tove Andersen, TOMRA President and CEO. “That means working together across the value chain to find solutions as quickly as possible, because the solutions do exist. This joint venture is proof that this is possible and TOMRA is proud to play a key role in it.”