ALBA was founded in Berlin on 3 September 1968 by engineer Franz Josef Schweitzer and his wife Ursula. The waste disposal firm started out with six employees and two trucks. Let us take you on a guided tour of our recycling company’s 50-year history in our image gallery.
50 years of recycling with ALBA
Tradition Meets Innovation: ALBA Group corporate video
ALBA history picture gallery
1968 – foundation
The company is launched by civil engineer Franz Josef Schweitzer and his wife Ursula on 3rd September 1968 in Berlin, starting life with 6 employees and two trucks.
1970 – ALBA makes waves
One of the first refuse trucks to feature a skip trailer makes waves in the waste disposal sector in Berlin.
1976 - the separate collection of recyclables is invented
After the first Waste and Recycling Act is passed in Germany, ALBA develops an innovative approach: the separate collection of recyclables. Known as the “Berlin model”, glass, cardboard and paper are collected separately in different coloured containers before being sent for recycling.
1980 – ALBA sets standards
With a length of 16 metres and a total capacity of 34 cubic metres, the biggest waste collection container in Berlin causes a public frenzy.
1991 – ALBA goes Basketball
ALBA supports the world of local sports and becomes the primary sponsor of BG Charlottenburg. With its new name of ALBA BERLIN, the basketball team goes on to achieve great success, with the leading club in the German capital becoming German champions eight times and being crowned winners of the German basketball cup, most recently in 2013.
1997 – ALBA for KINDerLEBEN
Together with kindred spirits, in this year Franz Josef Schweitzer launches the charity KINDerLEBEN which supports the Klinik für krebskranke Kinder e. V. (Cancer Clinic for Children and Young People) in Berlin. The charity is dedicated to supporting the Cancer Clinic for Children and Young People at the Charité hospital in Berlin. The highlight of the support provided by ALBA is the annual benefit gala for the benefit of KINDerLEBEN, which has raised more than 2.2 million Euros in charitable donations since the year 2001.
1998 – leadership into the second generation
Following the death of their father, sons Axel and Eric Schweitzer, who are just 29 and 33 years old, assume responsibility for the company.
2004 – introduction of the first yellow “plus” container for recyclables in Leipzig
The yellow “plus” container is launched in Leipzig in 2004. In addition to standard packaging, residents of Leipzig can also discard old mobile phones, saucepans and similar objects in this container. It goes on to become a model for recycling containers throughout Germany.
2005 – the latest sorting system for lightweight packaging
As one of the first companies to do so, ALBA invests in a lightweight packaging system in Berlin, creating the most modern production facility for raw materials in Europe – its overall investment totals 20.5 million Euros.
2006 – ALBA develops the first production facility for “green coal” in Berlin
Working together, ALBA and the Berliner Stadtreinigungsbetriebe (BSR) (Berlin municipal waste authority) launch the first facility for the production of “green coal” from household waste in Pankow – on the basis of so-called MPS technology (mechanical-physical stabilisation). The first facility that ALBA develops for BSR is followed by a second one. Both remain in shared operation.
2009 – ALBA and Interseroh become the ALBA Group
In the beginning of 2009, ALBA and Interseroh reach a cooperation agreement, and under the aegis of the ALBA Group, accelerate the expansion of the corporate group, which becomes the biggest provider of environmental services and trading business for raw materials in Germany. As the majority shareholders of INTERSEROH SE (now ALBA SE) Axel and Eric Schweitzer increase their shareholding to 75 percent.
2011 – modern financing & the ALBA Group in China
As the first corporate group in the German recycling sector to do so, the ALBA Group successfully issues a fixed-interest corporate bond on the international capital market. The official representation of the ALBA Group opens in Beijing, China.
2013 – a new brand presence
The ALBA brand gets a new face – with the new claim of “we call it raw material” and a new pictogram, the Möbius strip, which symbolises the never-ending recycling loop. Coinciding with its 45th anniversary, ALBA opens the first ever recycling showroom in Germany at its new corporate headquarters in Berlin.
2015 – the biggest single order in the company’s history
The ALBA Group takes responsibility for the development and subsequent operation of a collection and recycling system as well as the construction of a recycling facility for household electronic scrap for Hong-Kong, China, a city of some seven million people. In Germany ALBA develops its own technology for the recycling of flat screens that contain mercury.
2016 – Techcent becomes a new partner
The family-owned business Techcent becomes a partner in the China and services business of the ALBA Group. Interseroh opens a competence centre for plastics recycling in Maribor, Slovenia and celebrates its 25th anniversary. At the same time, ALBA is also able to look back on successful partnership with the leading basketball team ALBA BERLIN, celebrating 25 years as its main sponsor.
2017 – technology and digitalisation: an engine for the future
On the occasion of a summit between the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel and the Prime Minister of China Kequiang Li, together with Techcent and the Deyang Construction Investment Group, the ALBA Group signs a contract for the construction of a high-tech recycling park in Dyang (Sichuan). In Berlin, the in-house InnovationLAB opens for the development of new digital business models.
2018 – 50 years of ALBA
“Tradition meets innovation” is the motto of the anniversary. ALBA isn’t just an established family business which has helped to create the recycling sector and has had a decisive impact on it. ALBA has always stood for progress and innovation. ALBA is also an international player with approximately 200 subsidiary and associated companies in Germany, Europe and Asia.