Global innovation: HDPE bottles made of 100% Recyclates from the Yellow Bag
The Werner & Mertz Recyclate Initiative has had one success after another for years. More than 15 million transparent plastic bottles made of 100% recycled PET are already on the market; 20% of the recyclates came from the Yellow Bag collection system. Werner & Mertz GmbH has taken a further step with the development and manufacture of the world's first bottles made of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) recyclates from the Yellow Bag. In recognition of this achievement, Werner & Mertz has been named the winner of this year's German Packaging Award in the category "Sustainability".
Think: Genuine Cycles
Cooperative efforts involving Werner & Mertz of Mainz, the bottle manufacturer Alpla-Werke Alwin Lehner GmbH & Co KG and the Green Dot have led to the successful production of packaging for emsal hardwood floor care and the green care PROFESSIONAL TANET SR 15 made of 100% PE recyclates from the Yellow Bag. Eventually all PE packaging for Werner & Mertz brands will be made in this quality from recycled plastic obtained from the collection system.
With this development the Recyclate Initiative shows what genuine recyclability looks like. Werner & Mertz pursues the goal of staying one step ahead of ecological benchmarks in all essential elements of the products, i.e., formulas, packaging and production standards, says Reinhard Schneider, owner of Werner & Mertz and initiator of the Recyclate Initiative.
More pioneering achievements in sustainability
The challenge in the development process was to identify the PE among the old plastic in the Yellow Bag which satisfies the physical and technological specifications of the demanding extrusion blow molding production process and the quality requirements for packaging function and appearance. A translucent material was needed that would allow the consumer to see the fill-level of the product. The PE recyclates in the market do not fulfill this requirement. As a matter of fact, the gray discoloration of the material is simply covered up with dyes. The declared goal of the Recyclate Initiative, however, is to forego use of dyes completely and thus achieve recyclability and genuine recycling.
With improved color sorting, it is now possible to obtain recycled PE flakes in natural colors and white. An improved washing process and an integrated decontamination step are further important developments in the manufacture of high-quality rPE packaging. Werner & Mertz and its development partners have produced not just simple bottle shapes, but also highly stable containers equipped with handles made of 100% recyclates.
The German Packaging Award 2016 in the "Sustainability" category went to Werner & Mertz for "this pioneering work in real recycling and conservation of finite resources and the packaging bottles which look almost identical to those made from virgin material" and for "maintaining the original appearance and quality of the bottles without compromising product safety."