Think cycles, use cycles
The Recyclate Initiative from Werner & Mertz was presented at this year's international Cradle to Cradle® Congress at Leuphana University in Lüneburg. Before an international audience, Immo Sander, Head of Packaging Development at Werner & Mertz, and Timothy Glaz, Head Corporate Affairs at Werner & Mertz, cited the development achievements of the Recyclate Initiative to show what is possible with plastic packaging in Cradle to Cradle® design.
"Recyclable plastic packaging inspired by the Cradle to Cradle® principle" was the focus of the joint presentation by Glaz and Sander during the international forum on the first day of the congress. In cooperation with its Recyclate Initiative partners, Werner & Mertz has done important pioneering work in recyclability over the past several years. Both the packaging and cleaning products from the family-owned and operated company in Mainz are Cradle to Cradle® certified.
"Genuine recyclability of packaging materials, as described in the Cradle to Cradle® principle, is an approach that can be used today, thanks to the development of modern sorting and material technologies. With our partners in the Recyclate Initiative, we have proven that the development of bottles and caps of 100 percent PET, HDPE and PP is possible," said Sander. Recyclability has to be taken into consideration early in packaging design. Sustainable and healthy raw materials are just as important as packaging recyclability after the usage phase. The recyclability of plastics could be improved first after a way was found to manufacture plastic packaging that could be sorted according to origin.
"We could make a theoretically infinite material cycle for plastic packaging in which plastic from previously untapped sources like the Yellow Bag is used," said Glaz. "At Werner & Mertz we have shown that such a concept can be economically implemented even in a medium-sized company." Since the start of the Recyclate Initiative, more than 200 million packaging units made of 100 percent recycled PET with a share of 20 percent rPET from the Yellow Bag and packaging of 100 percent rHDPE from the Yellow Bag have been put into market.
Glaz and Sander also presented a current example of the newest development from Werner & Mertz and the international packaging company Mondi. The fully recyclable standing pouch of polyethylene with removable label is a groundbreaking design for recycling and a giant step for closed-loop circulation of plastic packaging.
The international Cradle to Cradle® Congress took place this year for the fifth time. It is the world's largest platform at which members of the Cradle to Cradle® community meet with decision-makers from business, science, politics and society. During the two-day event Cradle to Cradle® pioneers present their innovative products and solutions. Forums, presentations and expert discussions offer opportunities for information exchange and networking.
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