Increasing the use of recycled material.
The material we process has fallen into disrepute. The production, processing, use and disposal of plastic is surrounded by much controversy in society and politics. The triggers for this were, quite rightly, shocking images of great swaths of plastic in our oceans, appalling reports and studies on microplastic particles found in the environment and human body and highly dubious disposal routes used for plastic waste.
But despite all of this, plastic is the most sustainable material in the world – if used properly. For over 100 years, it has been offering innovative answers for future-oriented applications and thus is and remains the material of the future.
For us, handling plastic responsibly means: we use innovative product development to minimise consumption and thus conserve fossil resources, especially through the use of recycled materials.
Proportion of recycled material [%]
Use of recycled materials in production.
We have many years of experience in processing recycled materials. For over 40 years, these so-called secondary materials have been incorporated in production by our TEKU®division. At TEKU®, the percentage of recycled material has long been more than 80 percent. The use of recycled material is more difficult when it comes to the production of highly complex technical parts in the K-TECH® division. Despite this, with a proportion of 13.7% in plant 2, we were already able to exceed our 2020 target of 10% in 2018.
Projects like the new plant pots made of post-consumer-recycled (PCR) are taking a decisive step further. After all, this recycled material is made exclusively using plastic waste collected through household recycling. The plant pot in the colour Circular blue is designed in such a way that it can be disposed of through household recycling, thus enabling the subsequent sorting and reuse of its material. With this, Pöppelmann TEKU® was able to close the material cycle with a series product at the same stage of the value-added chain for the first time – positioning itself as a pioneer in the industry. As part of the company-wide PÖPPELMANN blue® initiative , the development teams in all four divisions are working on concepts to close the material cycle. Stichwort: circular economy. This goal can only be achieved with the use of post-consumer-recycled materials.
In light of legal stipulations and customer requirements, secondary plastic can only be used for a handful of products in the FAMAC® division. Our position: Although society and political circles are calling for an increased use of PCR recycled materials for cosmetics and food packaging, current regulatory conditions still make this largely impossible. We believe that politicians and public authorities should work together with all industry stakeholders – and, of course, in compliance with the requirements of consumer protection – to make the use of PCR possible.
About our material: we use almost exclusively thermoplastics to manufacture our finished parts. These are easy to process and recycle. In plants 1 and 3, we predominantly use the mass plastics polypropylene, polyethylene and polystyrene. In plant 2, engineering plastics like polyamide, polyacetale, polycarbonate, polyester and thermoplastic elastomers are also used. Our production waste is sorted by type and processed into new products wherever possible.
Our material management continuously drives processes forwards in order to improve efficiency. In addition to a constant rise in the rate of recycled material use, these include a reduction in the wall thickness of finished parts, the direct return of material residues to production machines and limiting the variety of plastics used. We are also constantly opening up new raw material sources through technological developments. For example, we can now use recycled polystyrene material from discarded refrigerators in our production, which would have been inconceivable ten years ago.
To increase the use of recycled materials in our production, we face the constant task of tapping new material flows. A task that also involves technological challenges. An indispensable prerequisite for this is detailed market knowledge and thus close collaboration between the technology, production and purchasing departments.
It must also be considered that increasing demand for recycled materials means that post-industrial-recycled are becoming more and more scarce. As part of the PÖPPELMANN blue® initiative, we accept the challenge of meeting our quality standards with PCR materials, which are much more difficult to process. This is also an example of how the demand for economic sustainability promotes ecological solutions.
Eco design examines the entire product life.
The design of a product plays a crucial role in how the product affects the environment. This is why eco design, in accordance with customer requirements, is at the heart of our product design.
At the Holdorf plant, a new life awaits plastic.
How can we conserve resources? For Otto Bavendiek, this is not a theoretical question, but rather a work assignment. His area of expertise at Pöppelmann is the use of recycled materials in plastics processing.
Our goals for the future are firmly anchored in our tradition.
Sustainable business is not an entirely new concept for us. Our sustainability management can be described as follows: we embed already existing features in a new form, supplement it with current aspects and insights and let it grow organically within our company.