The story of Van Werven Plastic Recycling

Theme(s): Post Consumer Plastics, Recycling, Secondary Raw Material
Active in: The Netherlands, Belgium, UK, Ireland, Sweden and Poland
Years of international activity: Since 2012


Ton van Der Giessen, CEO

Tell us about your business!

Van Werven Plastic Recycling recycles rigid mixed bulky plastics into high quality raw materials. Selling our end products to the plastic industry in Europe we aim to achieve a 100% replacement of primary plastics. Our recycling process exists from self developed innovative sorting and recycling techniques.


What is it that drove you to cross the border?

At the moment the demand for our recyclate was bigger than the plastic waste we could get out of the Dutch market we went abroad for a bigger volume of input material. At the same time it gives us the opportunity to be more close to the end users of our secondary raw materials.


What makes it fun/interesting/worth the effort?

We started at the end of 2005 from zero in the Netherlands and now our capacity is 150 million kilograms of recyclate every year in 6 countries and still growing in Europe!


How did you manage to take the step across the border?

The first step in the UK was supported by the British Embassy in the Hague. In Poland we started with a well-known partner we already worked with many years. In the other countries we started from scratch after we had made a analyses of the waste costs and the governmental rules about recycling percentages goals and legislation.


What was the toughest part of going international and how did you overcome it?

To build a network for the input of plastic waste and the output of recyclate in every country.  We had to convince many people about our recycling innovation and possibilities. Also in the beginning they had the expectation that we were a ‘one day fly’.

Culture wasn’t a big problem. Try to be flexible and adopt their way of doing business!


What is your biggest accomplishment since expanding your business abroad?

To get grip on the plastic waste in each country and to find partners which replace their primary raw material for our recyclate. The continuing increase of our volumes and our market share in each country: The only way to be a player in this market today, and in the future.


What would you recommend other entrepreneurs that are thinking of taking their business abroad?

Make a good market analyses for your business model. Don’t want to be 100% sure that it will be a success, because in this case you will never start. Be flexible when it takes more time to make it profitable. Believe in the end goal and keep smiling!


What are your next steps?

To expand our business in the EU up to 250 million kilograms of recyclate every year in the next coming 5 years and looking outside Europe for licence partnerships in plastic recycling.