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Henkel invests in recycling startup Saperatec

Comprehensive solutions for recycling of flexible packaging


Henkel is reinforcing its commitment for the development of a circular economy by investing in the recycling specialist Saperatec. The startup company has developed an innovative, patented technology that among others allows the separation and recycling of flexible packaging that contains aluminum foil. The two companies have already been involved in a technical collaboration for over two years, with the aim of developing and enhancing a range of customized recyclable adhesive solutions. With this strategic investment in Saperatec, the Adhesive Technologies business unit is confirming its dedication to sustainability: Henkel aims to provide its industrial customers with comprehensive and efficient recycling solutions for flexible packaging especially in the food industry.

“We are committed to driving sustainable development toward a circular economy. Saperatec’s technology is the first to allow efficient and high-value recycling of flexible aluminum composite packaging,” explained Paolo Bavaj, Head of Corporate Venturing at Henkel Adhesive Technologies. “Our collaboration has led to the development of new high-performance adhesives, which are compatible with Saperatec’s technology. We will now continue to expand and optimize this product range for flexible packaging in order to provide our broad customer base all along the value chain and especially in the food packaging industry with sustainable and efficient added value.

Innovative and cost-efficient recycling technology

The recycling technology created by Saperatec GmbH, founded in 2011 in Bielefeld, Germany, separates the individual layers of composite materials and maximizes the quantity of material utilization. To do this, the startup has been operating a pilot facility since 2014, in which chemical-physical processes separate the materials from one another without disintegrating them. The individual layers (for example polyethylene, PET and aluminum) are then sorted after the separation process and reintroduced into the value chain as high-quality, single-origin materials that can be used for a broad variety of industrial applications. The company is starting to build its first production plant in Europe after closing the fund-raising round.

“We are proud that Henkel, the world’s leading adhesives manufacturer, is convinced about our technology. We look forward to extending our successful collaboration, because the recyclability of packaging should be an integral part of today´s society,” said Sebastian Kernbaum, Managing Director of Saperatec. “In Europe alone, many thousand tons of waste of flexible packaging for the food industry are generated annually. The removal of this waste is cost-intensive. We will offer an innovative and cost-efficient recycling technology that makes it possible to reintroduce 100 percent of the production materials into the raw-material cycle, among others thanks to the right adhesive design.”

Henkel´s engagement for a circular economy

The investment in Saperatec is another proof of Henkel´s engagement for an integrated value chain for plastics. To further drive progress towards a circular economy the company has outlined ambitious targets and is engaged in several cross-industry initiatives. For example, Henkel is founding member of the global “Alliance to End Plastic Waste” and a member of ”New Plastics Economy“.

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