Abriso uses recycled plastics as packaging and insulation material

“Recycling costs us just a third of the purchase price.”
Geert Saelens, environmental coordinator at Abriso

Abriso specialises in the extrusion of polyethene (PE) and polystyrene (PS) to create packaging and insulation materials, such as bubble wrap, foam wrap and insulation panels. “We recycle our production waste into granulates that can be reused.”


With sites based in countries like France, Poland and Slovakia, Abriso has been successful in conquering the European market. The company’s headquarters are in Anzegem in West Flanders, which is also the main production facility. “At our site in Anzegem we have our own recycling department, where we can process both polyethene and polystyrene,” explains Geert Saelens, environmental coordinator at Abriso. “The basic bought-in granulates represent more than half of the total production cost. Recycling our production waste is therefore a major saving. We are only required to pay for the additional energy consumed and extra labour cost, representing in total around a third of the purchase price.”

Adapted to the client

Recycling is worthwhile. There is a high percentage of production waste at Abriso: 15 per cent. “Extrusion is a process that cannot be halted,” explains Saelens. “The number of widths we can produce is limited. After producing the wrap on the roll, we saw off the correct width to suit the client’s particular needs. This creates wide edge strips or waste. We also produce leftover film when transferring our production to another width or another colour.”

All leftovers are reused

“All these leftovers are passed to our recycling department. Here the waste is shredded and melted into granulates that can be reused. Half of these recycled granulates are used as a raw material for our own production. The other half is transferred to a company who turns them into the plastic bags that we use to pack our rolls of foam and bubble wrap. We can reuse all except a tiny percentage of the production waste, about 3 per cent. This is collected in containers and ends up being used as fuel for the lime kiln industry.”


A matter of purity

“In the past, we conducted some trials to identify whether we could also recycle external waste in Anzegem, in order to bring the costs of our products down even further. However, the material must meet certain criteria. External waste is often wet and soiled, and contains remnants of paper and metal. That makes it unsuitable for recycling. We therefore currently only process our own leftovers, for which we able to guarantee both the quality and origin.”

New colour for the customer

“Customers look mainly at the price. The more we can recycle, the cheaper we can make our products. Customers, however, are very demanding: for example, they do want ‘fuzzy’ coloured film. We separate the most common colours, such as yellow and green, but sometimes we need to blend when recycling and melting: this creates a grey shade that we call ‘fuzzy’. Abriso intends launching this colour as a sustainable product. Of course, customers do need to be open to such things. That will be quite a task for our sales team.”


Sectors Plastics ›