Technological watch

Accessible recycling: Austrian start-up plasticpreneur aims to make recyclers of us all

The compact, hand-made machinery of Austria-based start-up plasticpreneur caught the eye of Rob Coker during the Plastics Recycling Show Europe (PRSE) 2022 in Amsterdam. There he learned from CEO Sören Lex how the equipment had also caught the eye of recycling machinery giant EREMA Group, which has acquired a minority share in the business.

Plasticpreneur has shown that compact recycling machinery can make a big difference. How did such a small company catch the eye of a big player such as EREMA Group'We have presented as speakers at a conference and EREMA Group CEO Manfred Hackl was in the audience. Right after the presentation we connected and started a conversation. It seemed that for Mr Hackl it was quite eye opening to work on small-scale, decentralised plastic recycling solutions.

× Accessible recycling: Austrian start-up plasticpreneur aims to make recyclers of us all Sören Lex (L) with CTO Florian Mikl

Hackl personally congratulated you on your business model. How does it feel to receive such praise from an experienced expert and how do you hope to tap into that experience in order to grow your business'Mr Hackl was open for any kind of support from the first day we met – even when we had not yet started discussions about a partnership or shares. We have gained a lot of insights and motivation through the regular meetings we had with him and others from the EREMA Group. Through its know-how and EREMA’s standing in the recycling industry we hope to be able to connect with other like-minded people and expand the access to small-scale plastic recycling. 

Your business model is based partly on awareness and education. Is that the missing piece, in your opinion, to the puzzle of re-branding plastics as a positive, sustainable material'We believe that awareness and education is one missing piece, but in general we see that the larger missing puzzle piece is the general approach to simple access to plastic recycling. It's like a lost or a missing art or craft. Although the entire world talks about plastic and recycling, there is almost no access for people to simply and cost-efficiently take part in it. 

The compact and low-tech aspects of your products must be very attractive to local recyclers. How easy is it for one to acquire and operate the equipment'It is very simple. People without any prior knowledge can recycle plastic waste into new products within minutes. The machines can be operated very simply and, depending on the set-up, they can be even shipped by courier to arrive on your doorstep. That's why our machines are now in use in more than 70 countries. They come pre-assembled, ready to use, and everybody can become a plastics recycler. Only single-phase electricity is needed; they are light and mobile and therefore simple to move around.

Has your participation at PRSE so far been a positive one in terms of exposure and leads'Yes, we have received a lot of positive feedback and through the EREMA partnership also had a very great exposure. 

Announcing the partnership during PRSE, Manfred Hackl said: "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. We believe in this company. plasticpreneur can enable plastics recycling in areas where no recycling is possible.”

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Publication date: 14/07/2022

European Plastic Product Manufacturer

This project has been co-funded with the support of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union [LIFE17 ENV/ES/000438] Life programme

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Last update: 2022-01-31