Making packaging recyclable

Making packaging recyclable

Software developed by Henkel for the recyclability of packaging has passed the critical practical test by Fraunhofer researchers.

At around 220 kilograms per capita, more packaging waste is produced in Germany than in other European countries.

The plastic mountains from old packaging need to be reduced - on this, consumers and companies agree. But in addition to product protection, plastic packaging also offers other advantages such as low weight. That is why most manufacturers do not want to eliminate the use of plastics, but rather to develop a clever packaging design that allows as much recycling as possible.

Fully recyclable by 2025

Henkel AG & Co. KGaA follows this approach: By 2025, the company's packaging is to be fully recyclable, reusable or compostable. In addition, the proportion of recycled material in plastic packaging is to rise to 35% by then. Henkel has developed software that enables packaging designers to quickly and easily investigate how well a package is suitable for recycling.

The software takes into account all components such as base material, closure system and label. A traffic light system shows how well the respective materials can be separated during the recycling process. The program also calculates the overall percentage of recyclable packaging.

Rating: very good

Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT have now critically examined the quality of the results of this software and found them to be satisfactory. They compared the assessments of the program with national and international standards. "We contributed to the final development and can confirm that the tool very well serves its purpose to evaluate the recyclability of product packaging," sums up Markus Hiebel, Head of Sustainability and Resource Management at Fraunhofer UMSICHT.

Offer to other companies

Thorsten Leopold, Head of International Packaging Development Home Care explains: "We are delighted that our tool passed the critical examination of the Fraunhofer scientists. It will help us to make further progress in the recyclability of our packaging portfolio and thus achieve our ambitious targets for 2025". Henkel also offers to make the software tool available to other companies on request. After all, a recycling economy for packaging materials can only succeed if all parties involved work together across sectors.