Tetra Pak and Palurec develop carton package recycling in Germany


Tetra Pak joined forces with Palurec, a prominent recycling company in Germany, to drive advancements in polymer recycling technologies and extrusion pelletizing. This innovative collaboration aims to set new standards in the recycling of carton packages, while contributing to the vision of a circular economy.

Palurec GmbH, founded in December 2017, operates under the ownership of the Association of Cardboard Packaging for Liquid Foods (FKN), with industry members as key stakeholders. Their collective efforts have been instrumental in establishing and developing the recycling infrastructure for carton packages through mechanical separation and extrusion methods.

The opening of Palurec, the state-of-the-art PolyAl recycling plant located in Hürth near Cologne, Germany, signifies a significant milestone in Tetra Pak's recycling journey. The joint investment of €8 million by Tetra Pak, SIG Combibloc, and Elopak has resulted in the establishment of an 18,000-tonne facility. Palurec focuses on the recovery of plastic and aluminum components from carton packaging, making it the first of its kind in Germany.

Recycling facility

The partnership's efforts have allowed for the closing of the raw material cycle for all carton package materials. The recycling process achieves an impressive recyclability rate of over 90% for carton packages.

The raw material for the Palurec plant comes from German paper mills that process carton packages from yellow recycling bags and bins into new paper products. The innovative plant concept utilizes advanced separation units to effectively handle inhomogeneous material mixtures, including polyethylene (PE) and aluminum film, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic closures, and other impurities.

The shared vision is to achieve near 100% recyclability for carton packages through Palurec. As the recycling rate for carton packages in Germany increased to 80% by law from 2022, Palurec plays a pivotal role in enhancing the recyclability of packaging and countering criticism surrounding carton recyclability.

Tetra Pak's collaboration with Palurec in Germany represents a meaningful stride towards a circular economy. With the establishment of the Palurec recycling plant, the recycling of carton packages is setting new industry standards and reaffirming Tetra Pak's commitment to sustainability. 

Closeup of extrusion pelletizing


Companies involved

Tetra Pak contacts
Babendererde Caroline