Katrin Eder: “We urgently need better solutions for plastic recycling.”
Rhineland-Palatinate Environment Minister Katrin Eder and Werner & Mertz owner Reinhard Schneider made a joint visit to Kunststoff Recycling Grünstadt GmbH, one of Europe’s most modern plastic recycling facilities with an innova-tive washing and sorting process, in Grünstadt.
“The low proportion of plastic recycling in the EU means major losses for the econ-omy and the environment. According to the European Commission, about 95 per-cent of the value of plastic packaging material is lost after only one brief cycle of use,” said Minister Eder during her tour of Kunststoff Recycling Grünstadt GmbH.
At its Grünstadt location, the company operates one of the most modern plastic re-cycling facilities in Europe. In an innovative washing and sorting process, the plas-tic is sorted by type and color. The desired material and color purity of more than 97 percent allows high-quality usage of the recyclate in packaging for laundry deter-gent and cleaning products, for example.
“The main difficulties in plastic recycling are the quality and the price of the recycled products compared to brand-new goods. That’s why we so urgently need to estab-lish better solutions than today’s for the recycling of plastic waste,” said Minister Eder. In Europe, the most frequently used method for the disposal of plastic waste is energy recovery through incineration, followed by recycling. Researchers estimate that the manufacturing and incinerating of plastic caused the release of more than 850 million tons of greenhouse gases globally in 2019. By 2050, those emissions could rise to 2.8 billion tons.
The state-of-the-art technology for the sorting and treatment of plastic waste in Grünstadt is an important step toward improving mechanical recycling and increas-ing the benefits and acceptance of secondary raw materials for the production of new plastic products. “And, in the example of Werner & Mertz of Mainz, we see that the market responds positively. The company, which is justifiably regarded as a pio-neer and role model in the industry, already produces some of its packaging com-petely from secondary raw materials obtained from the Yellow Bag,” said Minister Eder.
Reinhard Schneider, owner of Werner & Mertz, said, “We always decide in favor of integrally sustainable materials for our products and packaging. Therefore, to make our 100 percent recycled bottles, we use exclusively material that comes from me-chanical recycling and from high-quality, efficient and climate-friendly manufactur-ing. The facility in0 Grünstadt is a very good example of that—and in the high-quality sorting of used plastic from the Yellow Bag. That recycling source counts for the climate.”