Different types of plastic waste packaging

The plastic dilemma: Is it recyclable or waste?

Knowing whether plastic packaging should be placed in the separate bin for plastic recycling or thrown into the mixed waste bin is not always easy. In fact, we throw away 50% of all discarded plastics in the mixed waste bin, which means it ends up either being incinerated or sent to landfill. Now, TOMRA will help recover this material and give it at least another life as feedstock for creating new plastic packaging.

“In Europe alone, 24 million tons of plastics currently go to incineration, and 14 million tons to landfill. At the same time, demand for recycled plastics has never been higher – and is likely to increase in coming years. Consumer demand, recycling targets and higher cost of raw materials are all pointing in this direction.

At TOMRA Feedstock we are on a mission to build a circular plastic system, closing the gap between the massive amounts of plastics waste and the soaring demand for recycled plastic material. At the heart of this challenge is the need for sorting mixed-waste plastics into clean fractions that can be recycled into new material,” said Joachim N. Amland, Head of TOMRA Feedstock.

TOMRA Feedstock is a venture set up by TOMRA Group to explore solutions for circular plastics. To close the gap in plastics circularity, the internal startup is now entering into closer partnerships and collaborations with leading actors in the plastics value chain. TOMRA Feedstock is currently constructing two facilities for sorting plastics at scale, one in Germany and one in Norway.

Joachim N. Amland, Senior Vice President, TOMRA Feedstock
Joachim N. Amland, Senior Vice President, TOMRA Feedstock

Joining hands with OMV in Germany

For the German facility, major offtake agreements with OMV and Borealis were recently announced. OMV has committed to purchasing up to 29,000 tonnes per year of chemical recycling feedstock, which is the output from the German facility wholly owned and operated by TOMRA. The material will be used for OMV’s self-developed and patented ReOil® technology for chemical recycling – thereby replacing virgin polyolefins. This will make a significant contribution to meeting recycling targets.

“This agreement shows what’s possible when key players in the value chain come together to make a truly significant impact in the market. We are proud to have initiated one of the most advanced mechanical recycling plants when it comes to post-consumer polymer waste, and together with OMV and Borealis, look forward to making a big contribution toward closing the circularity gap for plastics,” said Volker Rehrmann, Executive Vice President and Head of TOMRA Recycling upon the announcement on 25 April.

Partnering with Plastretur to manage all of Norway’s plastic waste

In Norway, TOMRA Feedstock has entered a joint venture with plastics producer responsibility organization (PRO) Plastretur and is currently in process of building a sorting facility that has the capacity to receive all plastics packaging waste from the entire country of Norway. The facility under construction in Holtskogen Business Park in Indre Østfold municipality will, upon completion, have a capacity of sorting up to 90,000 tonnes of plastic waste per year, turning it into clean fractions of plastics that can subsequently be recycled.

In April, TOMRA and Plastretur, along with site and construction partners Thermica and Relog hosted a site visit at the facility, which will soon be installing the equipment and technology that will enable high-volume, high-precision sorting at scale. Leading the delegation from the local municipality was Mayor Saxe Frøshaug, who was joined by Wenche Folberg and Terje Myrseth from the administration.

“We are excited to host this important circular technology initiative here at Holtskogen Business Park. This is an important step towards circularity for us, for Norway and for the Nordics,” said Mayor Frøshaug as he concluded the site visit having walked through the route that incoming plastics will travel as it will arrive in the facility once it is up and running in 2025.

Saxe Frøshaug, Mayor of Indre Østfold, and Joachim Amland, SVP TOMRA Feedstock
Saxe Frøshaug (left) Mayor of Indre Østfold municipality in Norway, together with Joachim Amland, Head of TOMRA Feedstock, during a visit in April this year to the TOMRA/Plastretur facility now being built at Holtskogen Business Park. 

Closing the circularity gap in plastics

In principle, almost all plastic can be recycled. However, there are several different plastic types which can be composed of various polymers, and these may require different recycling methodologies. In addition, today's product packaging can often contain a mixture of different types of plastic, making the recycling process more difficult.

In Europe, about 27 percent of plastic waste is being recycled. The rest is either being incinerated (49%) or landfilled (24%). The technology exists to recover and recycle the plastic that ends up in the waste stream, however to apply this technology will require significant investment in new sorting and processing facilities. To support this, policy measures will also be needed to stimulate demand for recycled plastics content in new products.1

The two TOMRA Feedstock facilities now being constructed will make a significant impact in closing the circularity gap for plastics in Europe, with a combined input capacity of 170,000 tons of plastic feedstock per annum.


1. Plastics Europe, "Circular Economy for Plastics – A European Analysis," 2024.

TOMRA Feedstock position in the post-consumer plastics waste value chain in Europe

TOMRA Feedstock