High energy costs and cheap primary raw materials posed challenges for the recycling industry in 2023. Nevertheless, PET to PET Recycling Österreich GmbH in Müllendorf was able to maintain the recycling volume at a similarly high level compared to the previous year at 32,283 tons, around 1.3 billion bottles (2022: 32,900 tons). With a view to the introduction of the one-way deposit system from 2025, PET to PET is already taking decisive measures at the site and is having additional storage silos, office buildings and workshops built to expand capacity.

PET to PET Recycling GmbH in Müllendorf takes stock: 32,283 tons of PET material - the equivalent of around 1.3 billion PET beverage bottles - were successfully kept in the bottle-to-bottle cycle in Austria in 2023. After the first few months got off to a promising start for the recycling industry, the rest of the year presented numerous challenges: rising inflation and persistently high energy costs resulted in savings in the industry. The significantly cheaper primary raw materials compared to secondary raw materials also worked against the functioning circular economy. Despite these difficult conditions, the company was able to maintain recycling volumes at a very similar level to the previous year (2022: 32,900 tons). "We responded to the challenges last year and took important forward-looking measures to invest in our recycling site. I am therefore very pleased that we were able to close 2023 with a fairly constant recycling rate of 32,283 tons of PET material, similar to the previous year's level," explains DI Christian Strasser, Managing Director of PET to PET.

Successful commissioning of the 6,400m2 PV system

The recycling company is now relying on solar power and successfully commissioned its first photovoltaic system at the end of last year. With an area of 6,400 m² and an output of 1,200 kWp, it is one of the largest rooftop PV systems in Burgenland. Currently, 2,373 PV panels are in use, covering around 10 percent of the electrical energy required from the company's own generation. This figure will be continuously increased in further expansion stages. PET to PET has already relied on 100% renewable energy for the operation of its systems in the past.

Outlook: PET to PET continues to invest in its site  

In view of the introduction of a nationwide one-way deposit system, PET to PET is investing in its company site. "We expect a larger return volume and a cleaner bottle quality, which will enable a further increase in the proportion of recyclate in the bottle. However, this also requires our plant to be adapted to the changed material qualities," says Thomas Billes, Managing Director of PET to PET. In preparation for the higher return volume, the existing silo system with a storage volume of approx. 640 m³ will be expanded this year to include an additional 140 m3 storage silo.

In addition, a new 225 m2 office building will be constructed this year. In addition to further office space, this complex will also include social rooms, such as changing rooms and sanitary facilities for employees, as well as an event room for celebrations and meetings. The construction of a 100 m2 workshop for mechanical and electrical maintenance is also planned. The space this frees up will be converted into a central charging area for forklift batteries and for the installation of an automatic filter cleaning machine.

In addition to support to cushion the cost increases, PET to PET has introduced the option of a company bicycle for its 90-strong team. Ten percent of the workforce is already very interested or is already using the offer to cover business and private journeys in an environmentally friendly way.