Hailab stands for HillertzAndersIngaLillAB

The company is owned by Anders Hillertz, who has been active in the packaging, reuse and recycling industry for 45 years. During this time, he has acquired a wealth of experience and a network of contacts that he wants his customers to feel confident in when contacting the company.

From then to now

Anders Hillertz entered the packaging industry in 1976 as a worker at F.a Knud Larsen, which was owned by Anders’ future father-in-law. A liking arose between the future father-in-law and son-in-law, and in May 1977 the company Knud Larsen & Hillertz was formed. The company bought used metal drums, plastic drums, jerry cans, tin cans, corrugated cardboard boxes, jute sacks and pallets from Swedish industry, such as the oil, chemical, food, pharmaceutical and textile industries, petrol stations, workshops, and in fact anywhere where there was packaging. They sorted it all out and offered industry used packaging for their purposes.

At that time, companies that used a large amount of packaging had their own washing and painting facilities in order to be able to buy used packaging and reuse it. There were also companies that reconditioned packaging and sold it to their customers, so for us it was just a matter of buying, sorting and then finding the most suitable customer.

Among our suppliers was Arla in Enköping, where all the juice for the group was produced, approx. 15,000 metal drums per year. We sold these drums to Ramnäs Bruk, who packed chains in them, Astra who packed pharmaceuticals in them, and Carlfors Bruk who packed color pigments in them. The customer base was large and varied.

A major customer of ours was Svenska Sockerbolaget in Arlöv, who bought around 18,000 per year from us to fill molasses in.

We transported everything with our own trucks and in this way we were able to maintain good service to both suppliers and customers. We sent some to Norway by rail.

We were one step ahead of recycling. We made sure that it was reused at least once before recycling.

The only recycling we did in the 70s was textile recycling. We took care of waste from the Swedish clothing industry, sorted it, baled it and sold it to, among others, Gotthard Nilsson in Älmhult.

Knud Larsen also had another branch of its business, buying in macerated rolls of nonwoven and paper from Mölnlycke AB, cutting down these rolls and making wiping and cleaning rags from them. When Mölnlycke started coating paper rolls with plastic in the late 70s, they had plastic waste that they didn’t know what to do with, so we took care of it, found a recycler in Norrköping and a third branch was started.

1981 was the next step

In 1981, Knud retired and kept the wiping and cleaning rags from Mölnlycke, while Anders, together with Knud’s daughter Britt-Marie, formed the company AB Anders Hillertz. They bought land in Mölndal and got a permanent location for their business. They bought office and staff facilities from construction companies and converted them into offices. Baling was done in manual presses.

At that time, the distribution was 70% packaging trade and 30% recycling. This gradually changed to more recycling. When Anders was out looking for plastic waste, he started to offer his customers total waste management/source sorting. In addition to plastic, paper, wood, metal and combustible waste were also collected.

1985 Irene and Anders in new office

In the mid-1980s, a new warehouse was built with offices and staff facilities, as well as a cold store where a used fully automatic baler was installed so that the weight of the bales could be optimized to obtain the lowest transport cost per ton.

The company was among the first in the Gothenburg area to buy a skip loader and a number of 35m3 containers that were rented out to customers where they loaded their fractions which were then collected, sorted and baled in Mölndal before being sold to the recycling industry.

Becoming a Sole Owner

The relationship between Anders and his father-in-law remained good, but in 1989 the relationship between Anders and his wife’s daughter broke down, and Anders became the sole owner of the company.

The collection of plastic increased steadily, the customer base grew and investments were made in machinery. Among other things, the company acquired its first mill to grind plastic thanks to a failed deal with plastic pipes for underfloor heating.

Anders did business with Wirsbo Bruk, which manufactures such pipes. What they didn’t tell him, and what he didn’t know, was that the pipes are cross-linked in their molecular chain and are not suitable for recycling. The customer in Italy therefore complained about the entire shipment, but Wirsbo Bruk compensated Anders by offering him a Rapid mill in exchange for him picking it up. This meant that the company could now also offer its customers ground plastic raw material.

Setbacks Became Stepping Stones to Success

In 1996, the company lost half of its plastic collection when Plastkretsen was formed. This meant that other activities had to be started in order to provide work for the employees.

A franchise agreement was signed with the German destruction company Reisswolf, and Anders started to look for customers in the public sector, banks and larger companies that were careful to shred written documents before they were recycled as paper. This was a business that grew rapidly from the outset.

1999 Reisswolf Caddy

Plastkretsen was not only a bad thing. Thanks to his good knowledge of plastic sorting, Anders, together with four people from Småland who owned a company called Meltic that manufactured mills and robots for the plastics industry, formed a new company called Meltic Hillertz. This company focused on plastic sorting and became one of four sorting plants for Plastkretsen. It was located in Lanna in Småland, an area with a lot of plastic industries. This led to more customers with source sorting agreements.

The company came into contact with the Danish PVC industry thanks to a source sorting assignment at the Swedish company Uponor, which also had operations in Denmark. Anders was asked if he could sort PVC, and his simple and only answer was Yes!

The company then signed a contract with Wuppi, a merger of five Danish manufacturers of PVC products that had promised the Danish state to take care of old PVC products in an environmentally friendly way through recycling.

A mill was purchased, as well as a couple of used conveyor belts and sorting bins, and the problem was solved. Approximately 5,000 tonnes of PVC products were sorted in Mölndal. The recycled PVC was bought back by the pipe industry in Denmark, which used the recycled material in a middle layer to manufacture new pipes.

A similar agreement was also made with NPG for the Swedish market.

The Step Towards International Expansion

In 1999, AB Anders Hillertz and Meltic Hillertz merged to form Meltic AB. The company had operations in Mölndal and Lanna, and its collection area covered Götaland, Svealand and Denmark. Meltic AB had approximately 300 skip loader containers rented out in Sweden for the collection of various industrial fractions, as well as the contract with Wuppi in Denmark.

In 2001, the four people from Småland sold their shares in Meltic AB to the German waste management group DAW. Anders, who owned 25% of the company, now had German co-owners. The company changed its name to Swerec AB. As part of the acquisition, Anders also acquired a shareholding in the Danish company Danrec, which at that time mainly manufactured plastic granulate and only had a small production of plastic sheets.

In Lanna, a new technology for sorting plastic by density was invested in. A washing plant for the collected Danish PVC was installed, and the company often hosted industry professionals, municipalities and other visitors who were interested in recycling.

Fire in Lanna on June 29, 2009

In 2005, a major fire broke out in the company’s premises and one hall burned down. However, just one year later, a new hall with optical sorting was in place and the business continued to grow.

Reisswolf also grew steadily, acquiring contracts with the Swedish Social Insurance Agency, Sahlgrenska University Hospital and the major commercial banks. It opened a branch in Stockholm in 2005, which caused the larger competitor IL Sekretess to become concerned. IL Sekretess made an offer and bought the business in 2008.

Danrec Updated for the Future

In 2008, Anders took over Danrec, which was not profitable in its production of plastic granulate. It turned out that the machinery was worn out and needed to be reinvested in or shut down. The latter was done in favor of the sheet production, which at that time was mainly sold to the agricultural sector. A new extruder was invested in that could produce sheets with patterns. There was a vision to replace steel sheets used in construction work to protect the ground from traces of construction machinery. This turned out to be the salvation of Danrec.

2009 Danrec Sheet Production

Today, Anders’ son Per Hillertz runs the company Markskydd i Väst AB, which is the market leader in Scandinavia in this sector.

In 2012, Anders sold his share in Swerec AB and formed the company Hailab with his wife Inga-Lill (see what the name Hailab stands for, heading). In the deal, he bought back the packaging trade, restarted AB Anders Hillertz, bought land in Kungsbacka and built an office and 2,500 m2 warehouse. Wholesale agreements were made with, among others, Emballator Mellerud, Greif and other suppliers in order to be able to serve Swedish industry with packaging.

In connection with the restart of AB AH, Anders got in touch with an Italian manufacturer of stainless steel tanks, Marchisio Fratelli, with the brand name Incon. The product range included not only packaging but also equipment that produces products to be filled in packaging.

Over the years, Anders has worked with a Danish wholesaler, Scandrums A/S, which is run by the second generation of Henrik Fagerberg. When Henrik showed an interest in also trading in packaging in Sweden, Anders and Inga-Lill sold the company to Scandrums in 2012. However, they kept the trade in stainless steel tanks as well as the properties. The vision was to work less and enjoy life together.

Unfortunately, life doesn’t always go according to plan. Anders’ beloved wife Inga-Lill passed away in 2019.

In order to live on with faith in the future and with experience from a wonderful working life, Anders feels that the best thing he can do is to continue in the same spirit as long as he has something to contribute. Therefore, Hailab continues to exist, selling plastic raw materials, acting as a consultant with services to collectors of plastic fractions, being a sounding board or talking about old memories.