Recycling and sorting plant integrator Stadler, headquartered in Altshausen, Germany, says its strategic objectives for 2023 remain focused on anticipating the changing needs of the recycling industry, developing solutions to address new requirements as they arise and consistently delivering added value for its customers.
Company CEO Willi Stadler says, “In 2022, the sense of urgency in addressing climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions has intensified to a new level. Greater environmental awareness is generating unprecedented pressure to reduce waste, recycle more and move towards a closed-loop circular economy. We, at Stadler, believe we have the know-how and experience to support the recycling industry in addressing this challenge change with effective solutions.”
A variety of factors, including rising public awareness about environmental issues and legislation such as the European Union's Green Deal, are driving changes in the recycling industry. The European Commission has submitted a proposal for new regulations aiming at achieving three key objectives: preventing packaging waste, establishing high-quality recycling loops and creating a well-functioning market for secondary raw materials through the requirement of a minimum recycled content for some types of plastic packaging, the company says. China’s ban on imports of commingled plastics also is increasing demand for sorting and recycling plants in Europe that can sort plastics by polymer type.
The need for specialization in the recycling industry is growing as a result, the company says, and Stadler is responding to that need. Two projects the company completed in 2022 illustrate how Stadler is doing so: helping develop the first fully automatic light packaging sorting plant in Eitting, Germany, and Europe’s first fully automatic textile sorting plant in Malmö, Sweden.
Chemical recycling also is an area that is gaining attention. “At Stadler, we detected this emerging demand early on, and today we offer upstream equipment that sorts and prepares the plastics for the chemical process,” Willi Stadler says. “This is an important step forward, as chemical recycling companies break down the plastic into gas, convert it into oil, which is then transformed into virgin plastic. This means closing the loop of a circular economy for materials that until recently would have been discarded as waste.”
Stadler says it searches for new ways to support the recycling industry as it evolves, including by participating in research initiatives such as the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection-funded EnEWA project, which aims to unlock the untapped potential of obtaining recyclable paper from residual, commercial and plastic waste. The company received the European Paper Recycling Council Award 2021/22 in the “Innovative Technologies and Research & Development” category as a result of this work.
Willi Stadler says digitalization also is playing an important role for the company, adding, “This is a priority for Stadler, in all areas of our business—in our operations and, most importantly, in the sorting plants we design with data collection of incoming and outgoing recyclables and predictive maintenance. We will continue to invest significantly in this area.”
The company says it has expanded its activities in Latin America and in the United States to meet the growing need for recycling. In 2022, Stadler completed the latest in a series of municipal solid waste sorting facilities in Brazil. It also opened a new sales and service office in Mexico City, where it has built a number of plants, including two large facilities. Its U.S. subsidiary is supplying systems across the country. The company says it is investing in increasing its capacity at its production facilities in Germany and Slovenia to meet the growing demands of its historical and new markets.
Willi Stadler says the company has sustainability in its DNA, starting from its business model as a supplier of sorting systems for the waste disposal and recycling industry. “Effective waste sorting is the basic prerequisite for efficient recycling,” he says. “What’s more, with every recyclable material sorting plant we build, thousands of tons of CO2 are saved. Just to give an example, a household waste sorting plant that treats 100,000 tons of input material per year saves about 100,000 tons of CO2 equivalents.”
Stadler is focused on sustainability in its operations, with Willi Stadler saying, “As a member of the UN Global Compact, we are committed to sustainability and to the 10 principles of sustainable business for the benefit of all people, today and in the future.”
The company says it has adopted a modern approach to energy management and is focusing on energy saving and self-sufficiency. In 2023, Stadler plans to extend its 88 kilowatts peak photovoltaic system by an additional 750 kilowatts peak.
The company adds that its sustainability extends to corporate governance and financial sustainability. It reinvests annual surpluses and ensures a high equity ratio so it can overcome economically unfavorable situations and protect its partnerships with customers, employees, suppliers and the local community.
“Through our sustainable approach, we create an environment that fosters a high sense of purpose in our employees, who feel invested in the company,” Willi Stadler says. “At the same time, we are able to support our business partners in difficult times such as we are experiencing.”
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