plasticpreneur recycling equipment
Plsaticpreneur systems can help bring plastic reprocessing technology to more remote and poorer regions of the world, according to Erema.
Photo courtesy of Erema Group

Erema buys stake in compact equipment maker

Plastics recycling technology firm invests in Austrian startup Plasticpreneur.

Erema Group GmbH, Austria, has acquired a 19.8 percent stake in Plasticpreneur GmbH, which Erema describes as an Austrian startup company founded two years ago that makes reprocessing systems for plastic scrap that are mobile and can be operated with minimal training.

In the two years since it was founded, Plasticpreneur has sold 330 machines to customers in more than 70 countries, according to Erema. Plasticpreneur also makes application-specific, custom-built molds designed to comply with individual customer specifications.

“The young founders and their dedicated team exude pioneering spirit, want to shape the future with their work and put their heart and soul into the circular economy and plastics recycling, just like we do in the Erema Group!,” says Erema CEO Manfred Hackl regarding Plasticpreneur.

Plasticpreneur systems may help bring plastic reprocessing technology to more remote and poorer regions of the world, according to Erema. This leads to the discarded material being incinerated or disposed of in landfills, rivers and the surrounding environment. “Our mission, ‘Another life for plastic, because we care,’ is also aimed at supporting these regions with solutions for plastic recycling, and with Plasticpreneur we have found the ideal partner for this,” Hackl says.

The start-up company’s machines can process high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), polylactic acid (PLA), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) separately, according to Erema. Plasticpreneur’s product range includes a shredder, an injection molding unit, an extruder unit to make end products, air filters and custom-built molds.

“For our machines to be used in regions with little infrastructure, they must be easy to operate without prior knowledge,” says Sören Lex, CEO and co-founder of Plasticpreneur. “The fact that we also develop end-product solutions needed locally makes our range of services particularly attractive here. As soon as recycling also becomes a source of income for the operators, they become entrepreneurs.”

Lex continues, “That explains the name of the start-up, a word created from ‘plastic’ and ‘entrepreneur.’ Plasticpreneur customers in these countries include social enterprises and operators of refugee camps, where everyday consumer goods—from clothes pegs and school supplies to toys and fence posts—are produced and sold using plastic [scrap]. This means that the added value stays local.”

Erema says the demand for Plasticpreneur machines also is increasing in industrialized countries. That demand is coming from educational institutions and organizations who use them to raise awareness of the need for a circular economy in workshops and to give pupils as well as adults a better understanding of plastic recycling.

Erema says other buyers also include customers who are developing new end products made from plastic scrap. Small companies, product designers and developers are a steadily growing customer segment, according to the two companies.