STADLER shares its vision of the recycling industry and strategic priorities
“In 2022 the sense of urgency in addressing Climate Change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions has intensified to a new level,” explains Willi Stadler, CEO of the STADLER Group. “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.”
Meeting the changing demands of a growing recycling industry
A variety of factors, from public awareness about environmental issues to legislation such as the EU Green Deal, are driving the 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. Another factor of change is China’s ban on imports of polluted plastics, which is contributing to the soaring demand for sorting and recycling plants in Europe – in particular plants capable of sorting plastics into the different polymers.
The recycling industry is consequently growing fast and requiring an increasing degree of specialization. STADLER is at the forefront of this evolution, detecting new requirements and providing solutions. Two projects completed in 2022 are a perfect illustration of how the company is constantly breaking new ground: the first and most advanced fully automatic light packaging sorting plant in Eitting, Germany, and Europe’s first fully automatic textile sorting plant in Malmö, Sweden.
The pursuit of minimizing waste by recycling as much as possible has also put the spotlight on chemical recycling. In 2022, it capitalized the attention of the chemical and mineral oil industries looking for effective solutions for plastics that are difficult to recycle. “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,” says Willi Stadler. “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 is constantly searching for new ways of supporting the recycling industry in its evolution. This includes participation in research initiatives such as the EnEWA project, which aims to unlock the untapped potential of obtaining recyclable paper from residual, commercial and plastic waste, for which it received the European Paper Recycling Council Award 2021/22 in the “Innovative Technologies and Research & Development” category.
Digitalization plays an increasingly significant role and STADLER is fully on board, as Willi Stadler explains: “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.”
Meet an increasingly global demand for recycling plants
The demand for recycling is spreading across the world, and STADLER has expanded its activities in Latin America and in the United States to meet this need. In 2022 it completed the latest in a series of MSW sorting facilities in Brazil. The company also opened a new sales and service office in Mexico City, where it has already built a number of plants, including two large-scale facilities. Its subsidiary in the United States had a breakthrough in 2022 and is now supplying systems across the country. STADLER is investing in increasing its capacity at its production facilities in Germany and Slovenia in order to meet the growing demands of its historical and new markets.
Sustainability is in STADLER’sDNA
“STADLER is all about sustainability, starting from our very business model: as a specialist in waste sorting systems for the waste disposal and recycling industry, we provide an important infrastructure for the development of a circular economy. Effective waste sorting is the basic prerequisite for efficient recycling,” says Willi Stadler. “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.” In 2022, STADLER’s achievements in sustainability have been recognized with the Sustainability Today Industry Excellence Award.
STADLER is also focused on sustainability in its operations: “We are a medium-sized family business with 230 years of history, and we have been acting sustainably on our own initiative. As a member of the UN Global Compact, we are committed to sustainability and to the ten principles of sustainable business for the benefit of all people, today and in the future.” The company has adopted a modern energy management concept and is currently focusing on energy saving and self-sufficiency. For example, in 2023 it plans to extend its 88 kWp photovoltaic system with an additional 750 kWp.
The company’s sustainability extends to corporate governance and financial sustainability. It reinvests annual surpluses and ensures a high equity ratio, so that it is able to 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,” says Willi Stadler. “At the same time, we are able to support our business partners in difficult times such as we are experiencing.”