Environment & environmental impacts

Materials management

Using resources efficiently doesn’t simply protect the climate and conserve the environment – there are also economic arguments for doing so. Material costs account for the majority of what we spend on producing our packaging solutions. For this reason alone, we are especially keen to use materials responsibly.
Expenditure structure
2015 2016 2017 2018
Procurement of materials 57.1 % 54.3 % 54.9 % 56.0 %
Payroll costs 14.4 % 15.5 % 14.9 % 14.5 %
Production equipment/infrastructure 7.3 % 8.5 % 8.8 % 8.6 %
Energy 4.8 % 4.8 % 4.6 % 4.4 %
Transport and secondary packaging 4.8 % 5.0 % 4.8 % 4.8 %
Maintenance 3.6 % 3.8 % 3.6 % 3.4 %
Other 8.0 % 8.1 % 8.4 % 8.3 %

We purchase new material from all over the world. Here, we endeavour to be as regional as possible, in other words we give preference to material suppliers based near our plants. We source recycled material both from material suppliers and from our own PET recycling plants.

Our material consumption for the direct production of ALPLA plastic packaging increased by 12 per cent between 2015 and 2018. A total of 2,165,215 tonnes of plastic were used in 2018. This includes plastics from renewable resources – these bio-based materials accounted for 1.2 per cent of the materials.

Material consumption by type of plastic

Material consumption based on plastic type barely changed in the years under review, 2015 to 2018, compared with the previous years. We still primarily process PET (57 per cent) and HDPE (36 per cent). Recycled materials are made up of 11 per cent rPET and 4 per cent rHDPE. At 7.0 per cent and 0.3 per cent respectively, PP and LDPE make up a considerably lower share in our material mix.

The use of master batches (colour pellets) and other additives accounts for just 0.8 per cent of overall material consumption at ALPLA. These additives modify the properties of the processed plastics. They give the bottles the desired colour, improve their protective function (e.g. oxygen barrier) or make them resistant to environmental effects (e.g. UV radiation).

Recycled materials

The proportion of recycled materials increased significantly in the reporting period. In 2016, it was 90,000 tonnes of recycled PET and HDPE, which equates to 6 per cent of all the materials used. In 2018, we processed 122,000 tonnes of recycled PET, which equals 12.7 per cent of overall PET consumption. The amount of recycled HDPE used in 2018 was 26,000 tonnes, which represents 4.3 per cent of the materials used. The total for recycled materials used in 2018 was therefore 150,000 tonnes or 9 per cent.

Plastics from renewable resources

Conventional plastics are made out of crude oil, and therefore out of a fossil and non-renewable resource. ALPLA already has many years of expertise and experience in processing alternatives such as Plant PET (Coca-Cola) and Green PE (Braskem). ALPLA works with customers and partners to develop the materials through to market maturity. ALPLA has been a member of an international consortium since 2013 which is working on the development of PEF (polyethylene furanoate) using nothing but plant-based materials. In 2018, ALPLA introduced coffee capsules made of Golden Compound green to the market. This bio-based material with natural fibres from sunflower seed shells is compostable at home.

There are many alternative materials that boast excellent properties. Research on and mould validations of PEF have shown that its gas barrier for oxygen is ten times higher than that of PET. PEF can additionally be recycled very effectively. And recycling is a crucial factor for the success of these new plastics. The legal provisions in the European Union will require high recycling quotas to be met in the future. For example, beverage packaging must contain 30 per cent recycled materials by 2030. This rule can pose a barrier to new materials entering and penetrating the market. What’s needed here is sensible and forward-thinking regulations that do not jeopardise the endeavours and the presentable results achieved to date.