The roots of Estiko Plastar reach into the first quarter of the previous century when Albert Laretei founded his comb factory in Tartu. The archives do not provide the exact date of the enterprise’s establishment, but it must have been the year 1918. At that time the first combs were made from natural bovine animal horns, later the production switched over to synthetic horns. The quality of the factory’s output was so good that at the industrial exhibition held in Tallinn in 1922 A. Laretei received two awards for his combs and items made from bones: the silver medal and 2000 marks.
The enterprise, having changed owners twice, had been named the Tartu Comb Factory in 1926 and the next year it was purchased by German industrialist Herbert Blumenthal. Under the new leadership the enterprise enjoyed a substantial boost – in 1929 the sales volume reached 95,921 croons and during that year the staff increased from 53 to 114 workers. The main market for combs from Tartu at that time was England, but they were exported to other European countries as well. The raw materials – celluloid and ebonite – and auxiliary materials (karleer leather, pumice, etc.) were mostly imported from Japan, Italy, France and the United States of America.
In 1930 the factory got a new name, officially in the English language – the Estonian Comb Factory, or Estico in the abbreviated form. Two years later the company once again had a new owner – the majority of the factory shares was purchased by English businessman Max Reich. The already existing international trade ties expanded further and products of the Estonian comb industry became well-known all over Western Europe.
In 1940 the enterprise was nationalized. The production volumes increased substantially and in the second half of that same year there were already 400 workers. As before, the main output comprised combs and the factory also manufactured hair buckles, pens and mouthpieces.
In the war years the factory was damaged but never stopped operating. After the war the product selection was expanded – soapboxes, soap dishes and toothbrush cases – and with every year some 10 new products would be added. The factory started making toys.
1969 was the crucial year for the product selection manufactured by the enterprise – the production of polyethylene films was initiated. Having successfully completed the preliminary trials, several new film extruders were purchased at once. In 1970 the film manufacturing process went ahead at full speed: during that year 366 tons of film were produced and 1.7 million plastic bags. In 1972 the factory was renamed the Tartu Plastic Products Trial Plant. By that time the relative importance of films and film products had grown so much that the old name of Comb Factory was no longer applicable to the current production profile. Increasingly more polystyrene and polypropylene products were manufactured as well – toys, biker helmets, haberdashery items, technical devices. Now combs were no longer made from timber, horns, ebonite or celluloid – thermoplastics were used instead.
The 70s and the 80s were successful decades for the enterprise. Wages improved along with the everyday conditions, the production facility was substantially expanded, new equipment was purchased and old equipment was replaced. One innovation was the implementation of a system for crushing production waste: from now on, all plastic and film waste would be recycled. In 1991 the enterprise was registered as a public limited company – Estiko Plastar AS. 100% of the company’s shares is owned by Estiko AS, based entirely on Estonian capital. From that time the enterprise has been operating as one of the leading manufacturers of packaging materials in the Baltic region, also competing successfully in the local markets in Scandinavia, Russia, Ireland and other export markets.
The traditional selection of polyethylene film products is supplemented with many new materials that allow the company to produce packaging in compliance with very strict quality requirements for the food processing industry and offer novel solutions to satisfy the packaging needs of enterprises in other industry branches.
The experience accumulated over the years, the constant acquisition of information about the latest developments in the global packaging market and the continuing investments in human resources, technology and product research and development ensure that we are a professional, flexible and reliable partner both in the domestic and international markets