You ask – Arno replies.

As part of our company-wide PÖPPELMANN blue® initiative, we develop, among other things, future-oriented concepts for commercial horticulture which completely close the raw material cycle. Here, our sales manager Arno Zerhusen answers the most frequently asked questions about the initiative and our resource-saving plant pots in the Circular blue colour. And if your question is not included, simply send him an e-mail: teku@poeppelmann.com

With the PÖPPELMANN blue® initiative, we strive for the closed material loop, so that it returns to circulation after the material has been used and can be turned into new products again. PÖPPELMANN blue® is not a product in itself, but a company-wide initiative, that we have in all divisions to represent the closed material loops.

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We decided on the colour blue because, in addition to various excellent technical properties such as its overdyeing capability, opacity and printability blue also has a very high recognition value on the market. Blue is different and well perceived.

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For more than forty years, we at Pöppelmann have been using recycled plastics or old plastics and turning them into new products. Until now, this has largely been from industrial waste; for example, from the manufacture of labels or other plastic items. Nowadays we refer to this as "PIR", or post-industrial recyclate. PCR is a post-consumer recyclate, and the word "consumer" actually indicates the fact that it was previously in people's households. In other words, PCR comes from domestic waste.

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We believe that the most sustainable solution is to use and technically equip the plastic we use so that it can stay in the cycle. For domestic waste, it is imperative that this material is disposed of in the recycling bag so that it can then be easily recovered during the disposal process. We can reuse these materials to make new plant pots from them. This really is the most sustainable solution available at the moment. One pot is made out of another pot; and then another, and another, and so on. It does not get more sensible than that.

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For lots of our customers it will of course be logical that if Pöppelmann states that a product is recyclable, for example, then Pöppelmann will stand by that. We stand by what we say. Nevertheless, we want to give the additional assurance that it is also certified by an independent institute. Therefore, we have commissioned the cyclos htp institute – without doubt the main institute in Europe in this field – to certify and thus also to ensure the 100-per cent recyclability of our products. This enables us to guarantee a 100-per cent material cycle. And in addition to recyclability, which we prove with the cyclos htp certificate, we naturally also want to prove that the plastics we use for PÖPPELMANN blue® are plastics from domestic waste. After all, everything that we have made recyclable will then usually be found and should be reused, so that also here, in cooperation with the RAL Quality Mark, we can prove the proportions of post-consumer material originating from domestic waste.

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Of course, there are other certifications that we also use. Our products are decorated with the Blue Angel. By means of audits, the Blue Angel has certain information; for example, that our products are made of post-consumer material, material from domestic waste, by more than 80 per cent. In contrast with the Blue Angel, EuCertPlast certification only proves that you have sourced appropriate plastic from the recycling bag or from domestic waste through your suppliers. But in no way is this proof that you have actually used it. On the other hand, the Blue Angel guarantees this.

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It goes without saying that our printed PÖPPELMANN blue® pots are recyclable, and indeed 100 per cent so. We have also had this confirmed by the cyclos htp institute. This is an essential requirement for the success of this product. It is like I said before: in terms of marketing, these products work exactly the same as other conventional plant pots. If we are talking about labelled pots, then of course here, too, there is the essential requirement that polypropylene labels are being used, so that the same material is used for the label as for the pot. Thus, these pots are also 100 per cent recyclable again, even if they have been labelled.

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No, the PÖPPELMANN blue® initiative does not necessarily mean that the products have to be blue. Other colours are also possible, provided we always take muted colours. The raw material is a recycled material and there will always be colour fluctuations within batches, since there are dark recycled batches and lighter-coloured recycled batches. If we opt for other colours, we must, of course, always make sure that these colours are 100 per cent recyclable. This is the essential requirement that must exist for the PÖPPELMANN blue® initiative. And, in contrast with the colour blue, other colours are not yet certified, and we must check if they are certifiable.

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If we are serious about wanting to increase the rate of recycling around the world, then we have to start with the materials that are still widely being combusted for heat recovery and incinerated today. These are materials originating from domestic waste. We manufacture new products out of these materials, and this is the sustainable approach. Not opting for PÖPPELMANN blue® pots because there is not yet a sorting infrastructure in your country cannot be the solution. After all, this country in which the sorting infrastructure does not yet exist obviously shares the same planet as us and, at some stage, this country will realise that this stuff is not rubbish or waste, but rather raw materials. Obviously, we started in Germany because well-developed, well-functioning sorting and disposal infrastructure already exists here, and we happily draw on this expertise and experience. The RAL Quality Mark, however, already indicates EU-sourced materials. Accordingly, we can access PP fractions from countries like France, Italy or the Netherlands. We willingly use these material inputs in order to be able to close the material cycles on a larger scale.

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In the standard range, we focus on items manufactured using the thermoforming method, because these require 20–45 per cent less material than injection-moulded items.

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Do you also have a question? Then simply ask us
at +49 4442 982-321 or teku@poeppel­mann.com.
This is also possible directly via our contact form.

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