German Packaging Award for quantum leap in recycling!
Werner & Mertz receives award for its rPET bottles with a 50% share from the Yellow Bag
It is a gratifying validation of yet another innovation from the Recyclate Initiative. For increasing the proportion of recyclate from the Yellow Bag to 50% for its PET bottles made of 100% used plastic, the Mainz cleaning products manufacturer Werner & Mertz has been honored with the German Packaging Award 2021 in the Sustainability category! In cooperation with its partner ALPLA, the company achieved the seemingly impossible in March 2021, when the first new bottles for the Frosch brand were put into use.
"Werner & Mertz is consistently pursuing its goal to produce a bottle with the highest possible proportion of PCR from recyclable plastic and has been able to increase the proportion of recyclate from 20% to 50% without any strong colouring or loss of transparency in the material. The effort required to recover the rPET during sorting in the recyclable plastic disposal process is significantly higher and more complex than for material from drinks bottle collection (PET). This makes the bottle a pioneer in terms of the rPET content from PCR from recyclable plastic" (from the Yellow Bag or Yellow Bin), according to the judgment of the 24-member jury made up of representatives from business, research and academia.
Unique high-quality use of recyclate from the Yellow Bag
Back in 2012 Werner & Mertz, ALPLA and other cooperation partners along the entire supply chain brought the Recyclate Initiative to life. Since then they have worked to ensure that used plastic known as "Post Consumer Recyclate" or "PCR" is reprocessed at high quality, reused as recycled material throughout the country and thus kept in a closed loop. In 2014 the Initiative succeeded in converting PET bottles for the well-known Frosch brand to 100 percent PCR, 20 percent of which came from the Yellow Bag. The remaining 80 percent was from the European beverage bottle collection system (Bottle to Bottle). More than 499 million such bottles have since been put on the market.
Werner & Mertz has long worked to increase the proportion of material obtained from the Yellow Bag. With the technology previously available, it was not possible to achieve the desired transparency with rPET. Now the implementation has succeeded.
This step forward was made possible by improved, automated sorting, which yielded higher quality in the recovered recyclate. In the recycling plant operated by the PET Recycling Team Wolfen GmbH—a joint venture established by ALPLA and FROMM— nearly everything is fully automated. The PET, delivered by trucks to Wolfen, comes from the Yellow Bag or Yellow Bin exclusively from German collection systems and plastic processors and goes through presorting in lightweight packaging equipment. At the Wolfen site the transparent PET and colored PET are separated. In this fine sorting, the focus is on PET hollow articles. The residual material is likewise separated. The high-quality fine sorting is an advanced development of Near Infrared (NIR) technology. In the next step Textplast GmbH turns the recovered material into transparent granules, which are then further processed by ALPLA into preforms and bottles. In this way the recyclable material from Germany is recycled in Germany and processed again into bottles for international companies. It is a completely national solution in which transport distances remain low.
Größte europäische Leistungsschau rund um die Verpackung
A total of 52 innovations from six countries received awards in the major European showcase for packaging initiated by the German Packaging Institute(dvi).
Besides the 52 award winning submissions, "consumers, trade, commerce, industry and the environment can all consider themselves winners as well. After all, packaging innovations bring even more convenience, shopping experience, efficiency, profitability and sustainability. They are high‐tech as well as creative, find new ways to do things and equip us for the challenges of our times," said Dr. Bettina Horenburg, who has overall responsibility for the German Packaging Award at the German Packaging Institute.
The official award ceremony will take place on 28 September 2021 during the Fachpack trade show. Werner & Mertz still has a chance to win a Gold Award, another honor announced and presented at the ceremony that goes to one of the packaging award winners for especially groundbreaking innovations. The previously announced winners of the German Packaging Award automatically qualify as nominees for the WorldStar Award from the World Packaging Organisation (WPO).
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