Werner & Mertz launches first shower gel packaging made of 100% post-consumer recyclates
As of 1 May 2019, the shower gel bottles for Frosch Senses will be made of 100 % recycled post-consumer recyclates. It is the first packaging with HDPE Post-Consumer Recyclates (PCR) from the Yellow Bag for use in the cosmetics field. This innovation was made possible by a special treatment process for HDPE that the company developed in a joint project with The Green Dot and the Erema Group.
Demanding requirements of the cosmetics industry satisfied
According to the EC regulation Nr. 1223/2009 on cosmetic products, manufacturers may bring to market only verifiably safe products. For the new packaging Werner & Mertz had ATC GmbH render a human toxicological expert opinion, which confirmed the safe use of this packaging from a hygienic perspective. “As we put together the report, it became clear to us that the team from Werner & Mertz and The Green Dot had worked continuously on the problems related to the reuse of plastic waste throughout the development process,” said Joachim Haselbach, one of the experts from ATC. “Such a process takes months and years. Team members were in it for the long haul and they persevered.”
Innovative technology in use
For the conversion to 100 percent recyclates from the Yellow Bag, the material had to be not only technically suitable but also odorless because the scent of a shower gel is very important to consumers. Consequently, the granules from the waste collection system had to be free of impurities and contamination. All the volatile odor-causing substances in the used plastic were removed during the recycling process. “We used a special processing technology for cleaning,” said Dr. Markus Helftewes, Managing Director of The Green Dot. “With it we are approaching food grade quality.” The treated flakes are further processed into granules. That’s where the technology from the Austrian recycling machine manufacturer Erema comes in. The company’s “Intarema RegrindPro” extrusion system, equipped with the “ReFresher” module, was designed specifically to meet the challenges of processing plastic waste from the Yellow Bag. The combined thermal and physical processes also eliminate odors. The operation saves energy by utilizing the energy generated by the extrusion process for the pre-heated granules. “It’s great to work with such an innovative company on advances in plastic recycling. The entire plastic industry needs this kind of effort right now,” said Clemens Kitzberger, Business Development Manager Application Post-Consumer at Erema.
Important contribution to meeting German recycling rates
The new packaging law prescribes higher recycling rates. In this year alone, the requirement for the mechanical recycling of plastics increases from 36 to 58.5 percent. Starting in 2022, the rate will be set at 63 percent. “Since the new packaging law went into force in January, significantly more products with a recyclate share have been submitted for examination. So, the law is having an effect,” said Dr. Monika Rüter, Managing Director of Fabes Forschungs-GmbH. Fabes conducted the analytical examination of the recyclate bottles from Werner & Mertz with regard to health safety and thus to consumer protection. She predicts an increase in the share of plastic recyclates in the Yellow Bag. Recyclates of good quality, therefore, are necessary to ensure that the quality of the output material from the Yellow Bag does not decrease as the recyclate portion increases. Then the used plastic can continue to be recycled for high quality use. “For the recyclate bottles from Werner & Mertz we examined bottles and numerous recyclate granules from the recyclates and found both to be of very good quality,” said Rüter.
“With our recyclate bottles for the cosmetics field, we contribute to meeting the German recycling rate targets,” said Immo Sander, Head of Packaging Development at Werner & Mertz, “and take another giant step in our Recyclate Initiative!”
Ecological formulas free of microplastic
In accordance with the integrally sustainable philosophy of the Mainz company, both product packaging and formulas meet the highest ecological standards. The pH neutral formula for the shower gel is vegan and contains no harmful substances such as EDTA and parabens. As with all other Frosch formulas, the shower gel is free of microplastic and thus protects bodies of water. The German consumer magazine ÖKO-TEST recently conferred the label “good” to the pomegranate and aloe vera gels. The new scent of raspberry blossom will be launched in May when the bottles are converted to PCR.