Selling plastic materials
After grinding, micronising or regenerating plastic waste, Paprec still has to sell it to industrial companies. The opportunity to come back to how trading works within the group, its strategy regarding distribution of the tonnages recovered, the various markets in which it is involved and the final re-use of the recycled products.
HOW ARE PLASTICS SOLD?
At Paprec, all purchases and sales of recycled plastic are centralised in a unit known as the FCR (and not via an external trading company). Its job is to work with the group's partners and to prospect for new customers. In this area, the company seeks, above all, to establish lasting partnerships, establish sourcing contracts with suppliers, so that they have certainty that their plastic waste will be removed regularly over a three-to-five-year period, and assure future purchasers of a consistent material in terms of both quality and quantity, supplied at regular intervals. Because occasional purchasing and sales opportunities do not provide security for major customers such as consumer-product or automotive-sector companies, anxious not to change suppliers too often, when its sells products from plastic recycling, Paprec targets probable long-term customers, eager to establish a relationship with the group built on trust and based on the excellence of the products supplied.
It is also important to note that, in recent years, with the waste management company having developed its regeneration business considerably (enabling the recovery of plastics with a quality close to that of virgin material), it is also capable of dealing directly with conversion companies in the plastics industry, without having to sell ground plastic to compounders who previously re-granulated plastic waste and sold it to industrial companies themselves. In other words, the group's clientele changes with its technical progress in the recycling of plastic materials and the various innovations that it is committed to, including in its plastic recycling factories, some of which have become references for top-of-the-range regenerated material.
And although that does not prevent the group from continuing to sell tonnes of ground or micronised material to industrial companies capable of regenerating it themselves or including it directly in their production cycles (this is the case, for example, with production off-cuts, sometimes pre-formed, but made of re-ground virgin material and re-injected in the manufacture of plastic products), Paprec aims at a clientele eager to obtain very high-quality recycled material, for economic or even ecological reasons. Although many plastics manufacturers are voluntarily committed to supplying their customers with a certain percentage of recycled material, current legislation, for example, requires certain sectors (such as automotive equipment suppliers) to incorporate at least 20% of recycled plastic into their production. These are purchasers looking for reliable suppliers of plastic materials, capable of sell them plastics of consistent quality throughout the year.
With regard to buying and selling new raw materials, with customers' requirements having increased in line with those of consumers and with changes to standards concerning QSE (Quality, safety, environment), Paprec – when it sells plastics – is able to guarantee them impeccable traceability of the materials sold and frequent internal quality controls. Thus it is today a supplier of highly certified plastics, whose approval criteria are sometimes almost identical to those of virgin material. For example, this is the case with the food-grade PET regenerated by the group, which is among the best-known in Europe, helping in the purchasing of recycled plastic of that type.
Plastic granules are packed into tanks, delivered by outside transport companies and emptied directly into converters' silos. This type of sourcing, which makes the process more fluid but prevents proper quality control, can be viewed as proof of the confidence that the group, a specialist in plastic waste treatment, has been able to inspire in its various partners.
WHERE IS IT SOLD ?
Today, Paprec sells 30% by volume of its recycled plastics in Asia (China, Malaysia and Vietnam), 27% in Europe (Germany, Portugal, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain and Italy) and 43% in France, thus assisting local industry in making economies, without closing the door to international markets.
At a continental plastics trading level, it is the Italian plastics industry that has traditionally allocated the greatest proportion of its purchasing to recycled plastics (11%). Then comes Germany, which is also one of the countries with a great fondness for recycled plastic waste, with local government having long ago decided to subsidise recycling and encourage the purchase of regenerated plastics, so as to help preserve the environment.
With regard to the sale of recycled plastics in Asia, Paprec distributes most of its materials in the Chinese market, which purchases a lot of ground, low-level recycled plastics, since local labour is not very expensive and can automatically or manually remove pollution from inked films, coloured PET plastic materials (sold to manufacturers of textile fibres) and mixed materials that industrial companies are also capable of injecting into various manufacturing cycles.
It is also in France where the sale of micronised plastic materials (mainly PVC) and food-grade PET (which Paprec is now capable of re-granulating) is most important.
USE OF RECYCLED PLASTICS
Apart from Bottle to Bottle, the process that allows PET bottles to be made from other recycled bottles, there are many different uses for recycled plastics, depending on the type of plastic. They allow plastics engineers to manufacture a large number of products, such as film, buckets or tools from low-density polyethylene (LDPE), irrigation tubes, wheeled containers and waste bins from HDPE (high-density PE) waste, automotive parts, materials intended for the construction industry or crawl spaces from recycled PP (polypropylene), joinery mouldings, induction tubes, adhesive tape and textile fibres from recycled PVC, strapping (plastic tape used for securing packages), fibre, thermoformed spools and pre-forms from PET, various injection or thermoformed parts from polystyrene, polycarbonate glazing, and textile fibre or automotive equipment parts from some polyamides (PA).
In any case, the recyclable and recycled plastic materials most frequently sold in France and around the world by Paprec Group are still PET, low- and high-density polyethylene, polypropylene and PVC.
The plastic recycling cycle is a step-by-step process. Discover the different steps :
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