EBRD and EU support waste recycling company in Kosovo

By Bojana Vlajcic

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Plastika boosts production and competitiveness with a new recycling line

Kosovo-based company Plastika recycles plastic waste, processes it into granulates and turns these into various types of foil used in agriculture and construction. Developing the business, which has 90 full-time employees, has been a gradual process. The firm started by collecting plastic waste, then began to recycle it, then moved into producing plastic materials.

“In the early 1990s, we started selling foils, mainly agricultural foils,” says Plastika Sales Director Ardit Shabani. “The high demand for these products suggested to us that we should invest in our own production. In 2006, we completed an investment in a new factory with production and recycling lines.”

The company was a national pioneer in the industry, though developing the business was not without challenges.  

“There were various challenges: technical problems, a lack of qualified staff and infrastructural problems, mainly to do with electricity,” Mr Shabani says. “In this industry, power outages are extremely costly, as well as damaging to equipment and production. However, our determination to make the investment work means we now have two recycling lines, with a capacity of 30 tonnes per day, as well as five production lines. Our company has broad coverage of the domestic market, but also wide reach on the international market – up to 60 per cent of our annual turnover is from exports.”

Since 2006, Plastika has recycled more than 50,000 tonnes of waste. In addition to collecting waste in Kosovo, it imports it from several countries. All of this is sent to the recycling plant, where it is treated based on plastic type. The waste is then separated, ground and cleaned.

“Our business model is to recycle plastic waste, from which we develop products for the construction industry, based entirely on recycled materials,” Mr Shabani says. “The recycling starts with the collection of waste by company employees, but also by external partners, both businesses and individuals.”

When it decided to expand its capacity, Plastika turned to the EBRD for support. The company accessed fresh finance through an EBRD programme, co-financed by the European Union (EU) under its Instrument I for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA), which provides loans through local commercial banks. This allowed the company to invest into a new recycling line. The total loan from Banka Per Biznes (BPB) amounted to €600,000 and, on successful completion of the investment, the company received a grant of €90,000, funded by the EU IPA and managed by EUO/EUSR Kosovo.

“Our new recycling line, with capacity of up to 1,000 kg/hour and new and modern technology, has enabled us to increase our recycling capacity and production of plastic products,” Mr Shabani says. “At the same time, this investment has increased the quality of the recycling process, which also affects the quality of the final product. It creates a competitive advantage for us on the international market. In this way, we have managed to procure a production line that is aligned with European regulations.”

In addition to improving quality, the new machinery is also energy efficient, bringing about significant energy savings as well as reduction in CO2 emissions.

The SME Competitiveness Support Programme in Kosovo is a €30 million facility developed by the EBRD and the EU to help SMEs improve their competitiveness. Eligible investments include equipment and facility improvements that help companies align with EU regulations and strengthen their ability to export to the EU while speeding up Kosovo’s transition to a greener, more sustainable economy.

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