Patrik Luxemburk, CEO of STABILPLASTIK in the Czech Republic, had a vision – a very clear, logical business idea in 2018 – to turn plastic waste into new products, mainly plastic pallets.
Patrik’s vision was backed up by strong expertise in plastics processing and pallet manufacturing inside a company, and he had an eye for the future of plastics and was ready for international expansion.
As Silvia Jiraskova of BISON3T (Technology Centre Prague), Czech Republic, STABILPLASTIK’s local Enterprise Europe Network office told us, "The very first meeting with the company’s CEO, linked to the needs assessment, exceeded our expectations: we met a highly motivated, goal-oriented visionary who understood future trends very well."
She continued: "The company’s objective was to fill its production capacity and reduce production costs by up to 30 %, mainly through intensive business development. The target group was logistics chains linked to large companies, preferably in the Nordic markets. This was a perfect match between the company’s needs and the Network’s services," she emphasised.
However, STABILPLASTIK faced several challenges in the beginning, such as lack of workforce, lack of plastic granulates, high input costs for moulds and lines and certain limits of the technology. For example, freshly made pallets need to air out for some time!
Ahead of their time and staying firmly in the future
Surprisingly, it took several years to shift the paradigm towards the idea that plastic waste can be repurposed for creating new products. In the meantime, the main priority for STABILPLASTIK was to find partners abroad. Based on their Partnership Opportunities Profile (POD) in the Network’s database, and thanks to the Danish Network partner Food and Bio Cluster Denmark and their knowledge of local companies, STABILPLASTIK met a Danish company expert in sustainable solutions in 2019, Nortech Solutions.
Jeppe Mølvadgaard, Nortech’s CEO said: "The collaboration with STABILPLASTIK has taken us a long way towards developing a circular business model and implementing circular and sustainable logistics solutions. Thanks to this cooperation we are growing both in turnover and employees," he commented enthusiastically.
Together, with their green transition in the production process and their logistics, they brought to life the 'green pallet': fully recyclable plastic pallets made by STABILPLASTIK.
This cooperation contributed to the growth of both the Czech and Danish companies through to 2022. Yet more development was on the horizon – a partnership with Svenska Retursystems, a big and respected player responsible for the smart circular system for the Swedish food industry. STABILPLASTIK has developed a customised pallet for them and the resulting ecostats are impressive.
The numbers speak for themselves
Business with Svenska Retursystems has contributed to diversion of more than 3.5 million kilograms of plastic waste from landfills and incinerators (up by 30 % more than in 2021). In 2022, they delivered 10 000 unique tailor-made pallets to Svenska Retursystems. This waste had been recycled and transformed into new products with high added value.
In line with digital trends in logistics, STABILPLASTIK has also developed and recently launched a smart pallet using radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology for tracking. Using radio waves for identification of an individual pallet, RFID can reduce the number of pallets a customer uses and optimise their system, making substantial savings as well as going green.
High level recognition points to a bright future
"Our view of the future for STABILPLASTIK is very positive," said Silvia. There are already plans for expansion with a new factory in northern Europe, which limits transport and footprint of both new and to-be-recycled pallets. "STABILPLASTIK has shown resilience in the face of legal issues, managing supply chains or finding customers abroad – all the hallmarks of a healthy, strong company." They are constantly working on improvements of their products and searching for new cooperations with both suppliers and customers.
The cooperation with Svenska Retursystems, facilitated by the Network, was praised by Minister of the Environment of the Kingdom of Sweden and EU High Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries during a high-level meeting held in Stockholm in April 2023.
"Today, and into the future, we are working on digital transition of the company and are searching for new markets and business opportunities together," Silvia concluded.