Ecoplast was founded in 1992 as part of a takeover by a business consortium. In 1998, investor Intrec VRL GmbH joined whilst the company received a 50% capital growth through investment in its engineering park. Since the middle of 2012, Intrec has operated as Ecoplast’s parent company, and the entire firm has been owned 100% by the Intemann family since January 2014.
“The recycling business operates through two groups: producers of plastics and other materials, and the people who process them,” says Head Manager and co-owner MMag. Lukas Intemann. “We go between these two groups.” Today, from its headquarters in Austria and through two further sales offices in Poland and Switzerland, the company employs 63 people and brings in 14 million EUR annually. As this go-between, Ecoplast recycles 28,000 t of polyethelyine annually and delivers its products to the top converters in Europe. The company helps Europeans achieve the goal of recycling as much as 22.5% of all disposed goods, a figure expected to rise to 60% by 2020.
“The changing norms are going to give a big push to our industry,” Mr. Intemann says. Ecoplast collects these materials communally and separates them out into different plastics. It purchases primarily Polyethylenescrap, especially post-consumer feedstock made of LDPE and HDPE, and takes delivery of these materials in pressed bales. Then the company processes the plastics into granules by using different sorting, grinding, washing and melting steps. Ecoplast’s products come in the form of lentilshaped granules which are coloured natural, translucent, mixed-coloured, and black, and are mainly used to produce goods for which the same materials have already been used before they were disposed.
“This is real recycling,” Mr. Intemann states. “Compared with burning and landfill of the disposed waste, which unfortunately is still very common in many European countries.” Ecoplast created the machines that process these materials in-house. “I do not think you will find machines like these anywhere else,” Mr. Intemann says. The company delivers the granules to companies within the plastics converters industry and may meet these and new partners as a visitor to one of Europe’s many trade fairs.
Ecoplast is well known within the industry and exports 90% of its products, largely to Germany, Poland, Italy and in the growing markets of Turkey and the Netherlands – 15 countries altogether. It is able to serve these customers with a great deal of flexibility and dynamism, owing to its efficient management team and family-run nature. Ecoplast is eager to turn around the trend of sending recyclable materials to China and is excited to tackle the challenges of its changing market. It has carved a great niche for itself as the green go-between in the industry.