Cadel Deinking was born, like many other companies, after the failure of a first experience. Rafael García, founder of the company, was working at Gaviplas, a family business dedicated to the manufacture of flexible plastic containers, when he found that, to compete with the large companies, he had to look for an innovative product. “In the nineties, people began to talk about the problem of waste. In a talk about waste recovery, I commented on the problem we had with the ink, which was not degraded, but which had to be paid for as hazardous waste. I believed that we could give it a new life, ”explains García. Under the umbrella of the University of Alicante, he set up an ink recycling business that did not work. “We were offering the product and nobody wanted it. Virgin ink cost you just 15% more, so the numbers were not coming out. We sold 3,000 kilos after a year and a half ”, says the manager.
Despite this setback, García did not give up in the attempt. “We began to investigate how to deink plastic to optimize the recycling of this material. In a loaned premises and with some 700,000 euros of investment, we started up the prototype machine ”. After this, they got the Basque Sener Engineering to listen to them and lend their collaboration, which marked the birth of Cadel Deinking some eight years ago.
Cadel Deinking works with this technology at its Alicante plant, where it eliminates about 40 tons of ink per month for other companies in the sector. “It is still very little. Any small plastic company transforms 200 or 250 tons per month. There are many possibilities to grow ”, he adds. Possibilities that may increase after the change in legislation in 2023, when the use of recycled plastic is authorized for packaging food, beyond PET bottles. Until then, his business will also revolve around the sale of deinking machines. “So far we have sold five, which are divided between Italy, France, England, the United States and Brazil, with a price of 1.5 million euros each. In Spain we have not sold any, here they have not listened to us yet ”, laments García.
The process that it develops can be applied on any type of plastic and not only on packaging, but also on painted car bumpers or on plastic posters printed with ink. “It is a technology with a great future because we are investigating not only how to eliminate ink, but how to remove other contaminants,” he emphasizes.
After this deinking, a quality product similar to virgin plastic is obtained that can be used in the same applications as a new one. “If you remove the ink from a bag of sliced bread, once it has been recycled it can be reused for the same purpose. But if you recycle it with ink, you could only make a garbage bag, with a single end use ”, explains the manager.
With 15 employees, Cadel Deinking had a turnover of 3.5 million euros in 2020 and a similar figure in the year that just ended. With an ebitda of 831,730 euros, its debt reaches 4.6 million, in line with the investment necessary to carry out the development. They soon hope to reach an agreement with the North American company Erema, dedicated to the manufacture of machines for recycling plastic, to distribute its patented technology in more than 20 countries. In parallel, they continue to search for new investors.
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Since 2017 they have been part of the business segment to enter the Pre-Market Environment, a training program of the Spanish Stock Exchange (BME) for expanding SMEs to learn about the operation of capital markets and access private and institutional investors to finance themselves. “We are ambitious and we want to grow. We know that any country treats plastic in the same way and that there are options in all. We have a large R&D project underway in Japan, but we need money to be solvent and face off ”, argues the founder. On its horizon is the exit to BME Growth (former MAB) in a year in search of new financing channels.