PETnology Handbook 2024

(Photo credit: Henkel)


PET tray recycling: Henkel is using 100 % PCR for blister packs

Düsselforf, Germany

In a pilot project, Henkel is now using 100 % PCR from the ''Gelber Sack'' (''yellow bag'')* for the blister packs of the cleaning product WC FRISCH Kraft Aktiv Pro Nature Pack. The PCR used consists of over 80 percent recycled PET trays, which are used for food, for example, and have not been reprocessed as standard up to now. With the project, Henkel wants to contribute to further exploiting the recycling potential of the dual system in Germany and to initiating a new recycling stream.

To manufacture the blister packs for the packaging of WC FRISCH Kraft Aktiv Pro Nature Pack, Henkel has so far used recyclate from the PET bottle collection. Due to their high purity and the low complexity of the sorting, these are particularly suitable for high-quality reprocessing. In order to develop household collection into a closed cycle, it is important that the yellow bag is used even more as a source of raw materials. That’s why Henkel switched the Pril hand dishwashing detergent bottle bodies produced in Germany to 50 percent recyclate from the Yellow Bag as early as 2022.

Expansion of sorting and recycling technologies

"While the recycling streams for returnable PET bottles and PET bottles from the yellow bag are already very well established, there is still a lot of potential in the reuse of PET trays from the yellow bag," says Ulf Timmann, Head of Global Packaging Home Cleaning in the detergents and cleaning agents department at Henkel. “This is because plastic trays are often multi-layer packaging that cannot be processed into high-quality recyclate due to their complexity. Plastic shells made of mono-material, on the other hand, can be recycled very well, but usually only end up in thermal recycling, since they are not sorted separately and the corresponding recycling streams are not yet sufficiently available.”

As a result, valuable PET tray material is usually not returned to the material cycle and reused. To change this, Henkel, together with Boldog Consulting and the film manufacturer PETman, is using a specially adapted recycling and manufacturing process. With the pilot project, the partners want to promote the expansion of sorting and recycling technologies for material from the dual system.

"Thanks to the good sorting of the plastic trays from the yellow bag according to material and color, we can now produce monolayer films of high and stable quality. These foils are formed into high-quality blister covers, which in terms of quality hardly differ from the current blister covers made from recyclate from the returnable bottle system,” says Kenneth Boldog, Managing Director of Boldog Consulting. “In order to further develop process technologies of this type, there must be greater demand from industry. Henkel is sending a clear signal here.”

For the pilot project, Henkel and Boldog Consulting were able to recycle around 20 tons of PET material from the yellow bag. That corresponds to more than 2 million blister packs for the product WC FRISCH Kraft Aktiv Pro Nature Pack.

The project is a further step on the way to a circular economy, which Henkel is driving with ambitious goals. By 2025, 100 percent of packaging should be designed for recycling or reuse.** In addition, the amount of new plastics from fossil sources in Henkel’s product packaging should be reduced by 50 percent by increasing the proportion of recyclate to over 30 percent and that volume of plastics is reduced overall.


* In Germany and Austria, the term refers to a plastic bag in which any waste made of plastic, metal or composite materials can be handed in for recycling.

** Excluding products where components or residues may affect recyclability or pollute recycling streams.


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