Oy Plastex Ab is a manufacturer of blow-molded plastic products founded in 1936. The fourth generation family company produces plastic products for consumers in Lohja, Finland. Plastex joined the SPIRIT programme through a newly launched project, aiming to explore how to increase the amount of recycled plastics in their manufacturing. We talked to Plastex CEO Lauri Ant-Wuorinen who told more about the company and the two-year project they have just launched with Borealis and other partners within the SPIRIT programme.
At the moment, recycled plastics amount to 30% in all plastic products manufactured at Plastex. Lauri Ant-Wuorinen says that the company aims to increase the portion of recycled plastics or bio-based plastics to 50% of their raw materials by 2025. This target is well founded. Ant-Wuorinen explains that according to a life-cycle analysis study conducted by Plastex, using recycled plastics in products such as watering cans will reduce the emissions by 47% in comparison with production of virgin plastics. When recycled plastic products are recycled again, CO2 emissions may go down as much as 90%.
The ambitious targets in increasing the use of recycled plastics is one of the reasons Plastex wanted to join the SPIRIT programme. Firstly, the company wants to collaborate with other likeminded actors to gain more understanding on novel circular materials, as well as on structural and manufacturing technology aspects to develop new types of blow-molded recycled and bioplastic products for the consumer market.
Secondly, the two-year project aims to find ways to use recycled plastic raw materials to manufacture food-grade products, such as drinking water containers. Keeping in mind that each product needs to undergo strict regulatory migration tests determining their suitability for contact with foodstuffs, Plastex is keen to learn about the findings of the other members within the SPIRIT ecosystem and work together to find ways to reach food-grade status for specific recycled plastic streams. Another focus area of the project is to develop closed materials loops in their own production.
Ant-Wuorinen sees that the discussions on circular economy may currently be somewhat confusing to consumers. Lauri hopes to see that the SPIRIT programme brings some clarity to the ongoing understanding on what activities are truly energy- and resource-efficient. He says; “I hope we can learn together to define the environmental impact of both the mechanical and chemical recycling of plastics. Consumers need simple facts and thanks to the work to be done within SPIRIT, the programme has an excellent opportunity to become the forefunner in guiding the society in this long-term undertaking towards a more sustainable future with plastics.”