Yellow bag concept in Germany

In General news on 01-03-2021

FROMM/ALPLA joint venture PRT Wolfen GmbH and FROMM subsidiary Texplast GmbH produce rPET from the “Gelber Sack” (“Yellow Bag”) for “FROSCH” brand bottles

Werner & Mertz, manufacturer of “FROSCH” brand cleaning and maintenance products, explains that the seemingly impossible has finally been achieved – the FROMM/ALPLA joint venture PRT Wolfen GmbH and FROMM subsidiary Texplast GmbH in Wolfen are using innovative sorting and regranulation technology to produce rPET from the “Gelber Sack” for “FROSCH” brand bottles.

The “Gelber Sack” is used to collect used plastic packaging from consumers in Germany. Only plastic items are put in the “Gelber Sack” (as well as into yellow bins) – however, this does not include returnable drink bottles, as these are collected separately for bottle-to-bottle recycling.

Advanced mechanical recycling thanks to a fully automated plant

Using the latest infrared fine sorting systems, PRT Wolfen GmbH separates out hollow PET items, PET bottles from household cleaning products and PET trays from other waste materials in the “Gelber Sack”. The fine sorting used in this process is a further development of near-infrared (NIR) technology. The PET materials obtained via the infrared-controlled, fully automated advanced mechanical recycling process are then sent to FROMM subsidiary Texplast GmbH for further processing to create reusable materials. During the next step, the sorted PET groups are shredded and washed using state-of-the-art recycling technology at Texplast GmbH. Finally, the clear rPET ground material obtained in this way is processed into high-quality, transparent granulate by means of an innovative, complex regranulation procedure. In future, ALPLA will use this granulate to make preforms and bottles, which will also be used for the “FROSCH” brand.

“FROSCH” increases the proportion of rPET in its bottles

Since 2012, Werner & Mertz has been committed to reprocessing plastics collected from consumers to a high standard as post-consumer recyclate (PCR) as part of its “Recyclate Initiative”, thus further closing the plastics recycling loop.  In 2014, for example, Werner & Mertz succeeded in converting the PET bottles from the well-known “FROSCH” brand to 100% PCR, and 20% of this originated from the “Gelber Sack”. The remaining 80% came from European drink bottle collections (bottle-to-bottle recycling). More than 440 million of these bottles have come onto the market so far.

Werner & Mertz has long strived to increase the proportion from the “Gelber Sack”. Until now, the existing technology had meant that the transparency desired could not be achieved with rPET. However, the decisive breakthrough came about thanks to the new FROMM/ALPLA joint venture and the further expansion of the technology partnership between FROMM and ALPLA. PRT Wolfen GmbH started operations in October 2020 and EUR 8 million was invested in the Wolfen location. By the end of 2020, the technological link with Texplast GmbH was achieved, allowing the high-quality production of PET regranulate from “Gelber Sack” materials.

Increase of rPET from “Yellow Bag” by FROSCH

The result of the FROMM/ALPLA technology partnership is yet another milestone on the road towards environmental protection and sustainability – the proportion of rPET from the “Gelber Sack” will be 50% for “FROSCH” bottles in future.

The first rPET bottles made from 50% materials from the “Gelber Sack” will be launched in March 2021. By the end of the year, “FROSCH” will convert all its rPET bottles to this format.

This is a proportion of PCR material from the “Gelber Sack” that has never been achieved before in the production of rPET bottles! It also means a significant expansion of the reusable material base! The cooperation between FROMM and ALPLA is another uncompromising way to stop the increasing pollution of our planet with plastic waste. Closing this next gap in the recycling loop also makes a substantial contribution to resource conservation and the reduction of fossil raw materials. And as if that weren’t enough, CO2 emissions are kept at a low level because this project recycles reusable materials from Germany within Germany, keeping transport distances short.

Mr Seiler, Managing Director of PRT Wolfen and FROMM subsidiary Texplast GmbH explains: “Everyone talks about sustainability and environmentally friendly plastic circulation, but we implement it rigorously with no half measures.”

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