At present, some manufacturers do not specify where the material actually comes from, using descriptions like "old plastic" or "recycled plastic". However, for a realistic evaluation of such products and packaging with regard to sustainable aspects, a precise distinction must be made between so-called post-consumer recyclates (PCR) and post-industrial recyclates (PIR).
To explain this, post-consumer recyclate (PCR) is produced from plastic products that have previously been made in to an item and used for their intended purpose. There are several sources for this material: In many cases it is plastic packaging that has been disposed of by consumers in yellow bags or other household waste collection systems. However, plastic products that were previously used industrially and commercially also included in the production of PCR after their disposal.
Post-industrial recyclate (PIR), on the other hand, is produced from plastic waste generated during industrial plastics processing. This source is usually still a very pure form and generally does not require time-consuming and costly cleaning.
The use of PIR does minimises the consumption of finite resources, however in order to actually close the material loop for a product, three conditions must be met: The product itself must 1.) be designed to be recyclable and 2.) have been manufactured from PCR; and 3.) the product must be suitable to return to the same point in the recycling stream (value chain) from which the material was originally sourced. Only then does it get a second, third, fourth, fifth and even more life.
Against this background, the TEKU® 4 level classification is easy to understand:
Level 1: Plant pot Circular360
The plant pots from this product range are at the top of the model - and for good reason: As the name suggests, in the product life they circulate completely 360 degrees back to the beginning, from production, use and disposal to kerbside recycling in the material loop. For these pots - developed as part of our corporate initiative PÖPPELMANN blue® - we have already completely closed the material loop. Plastic accounts for at least 80% of the pots composition and this comes 100 percent from household kerbside recycling collections as certified by the RAL quality mark. Pots in the Circular360 series are currently available exclusively in the colour Circular blue for most common series of the TEKU programme.
Level 2: Plant pot PCR Recyclable
The plant pots in this series are 100 percent kerbside recyclable. For production we use PCR plastic which has been soured from European countries including Germany. However, this recycled plastic is not necessarily from household waste, but also from other suitable disposed products such as garden furniture. These plant pots are available in the colours PCR Recyclable taupe/grey and PCR Recyclable terracotta/grey.
Level 3: Plant pot Recyclable
The plant pots in this series are 100 percent suitable for kerbside recycling and thus reutilisation: This enables them to set a starting point for the material cycle. They are made from a mix of materials consisting of PCR (although not necessarily from household collections), PIR and virgin material. There is a wide range of recycling-specific colour choices.
Level 4: Plant pot Black
The plant pots in this series meet all Pöppelmann quality requirements. They are made of PIR and virgin material. Due to their black colour, however, they are unfortunately not yet recognisable by the infra-red sensors in the sorting systems and therefore cannot be included in kerbside recycling collections.
TEKU® Sales Manager Arno Zerhusen explains: "For many people gardening is one of the favourite leisure activities. We are proud to do our part with our products to make our environment green and therefore liveable. Especially as a partner of the Green industry, we are always aware of the responsibility that we also have for the resources of our planet. That is why the use of Post-Consumer recyclates and the recyclable design of the products are equally part of Pöppelmann DNA."