With a new, scientifically well-founded assessment method, companies from retail and industry can now find out how well packaging can be recycled. The system was developed by Cologne-based environmental service provider Interseroh together with the bifa environmental institute (bifa Umweltinstitut) and was finally reviewed by the experts of the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV (Fraunhofer-Institut für Verfahrenstechnik und Verpackung IVV). The aim is to enter more sales packaging into a high-quality recycling process in future and to manage the raw materials contained therein in the cycle.
“When packaging is designed, the course is set for the recycling capability,” says Markus Müller-Drexel, Managing Director of INTERSEROH Dienstleistungs GmbH. “As part of our packaging optimisation service, we now enable manufacturers and dealers to optimise their sales packaging in a targeted manner using a scientifically reliable assessment pattern. This is also important with a view to the packaging law coming into effect in 2019. Afterwards, manufacturers are to receive financial incentives to use recycling-capable packaging for the first time.”
In order to assess the recycling capability of packaging, Interseroh, together with the bifa environmental institute specialising in technical environmental protection, has developed a three-stage points system. In the first stage, it is determined whether the consumer can assign the packaging to the correct collection system without any problems. Then, in the second stage, it is examined how the packaging performs when it comes to sorting. Can the currently available sorting technologies sort the packaging into the right material fraction – or do certain materials prevent a clear assignment? In the third stage, it is analysed whether the packaging is suitable for material recycling or whether, for example, labels, colours or caps make recycling difficult. The more points the packaging achieves on a scale of 0 to 20, the more easily and better it can be recycled.
“Using our assessment method, weak points of packaging and potential for improvement can be identified very clearly,” explains Dr Siegfried Kreibe, Deputy Managing Director of bifa Umweltinstitut GmbH. “The better the recycling works, the higher the achievable qualities are and thus also the sales opportunities of the emerging recycled raw materials.”
“It is high time that movement comes into packaging design,” says Dr Martin Schlummer, Business Area Manager Recycling and Environment at Fraunhofer IVV. “What is important now is that all the participants in the value chain commit themselves to combining the product and design requirements of packaging effectively with its recycling capability.”
The assessment methodology developed by Interseroh and bifa and reviewed by Fraunhofer IVV is part of the Interseroh packaging optimisation service “Made for Recycling”. Here, the recycling specialist – in collaboration with the customers from retail and industry – illuminates the lifecycle of packaging from manufacture to disposal and recycling. Based on this, practicable action recommendations and solutions are developed for improved recycling.
More information: “Made for Recycling”, Interseroh’s packaging optimisation service