Sustainability promotes innovation

At Fernholz, our 220 employees process around 2,000 tonnes of plastic granulate each month to create around 2.5 billion units of packaging each year..With those numbers, it goes without saying that saving resources and energy is of central importance to us. And so we sustainably recycle residual plastics as a matter of course. For example, all skeleton waste from thermoforming and edge trim waste from sheet manufacturing is ground down and immediately added back into the production process. This is done in strict compliance with quality guidelines.

Over the past few years, we have worked together with our customers to reduce packaging weights and foil thicknesses in order to use fewer resources. We will continue to analyse additional optimisation options with our customers in the future.

Energy management is another important aspect of our sustainability strategy. Our main focus is on increasing efficiency and reducing consumption. To achieve these goals, we invest in the latest cooling technology and effective thermal recovery; plus we are working step by step to introduce renewable energy sources.

Fernholz believes in sustainability

Recycled Polystyrene (r-PS)

The Fernholz recycled polystyrene (r-PS) project is in planning and is attracting a great deal of national and international interest. The initial project phase, which ran until the end of 2019, concentrated on a variety of tests and long-term experience with processing r-PS. More than 150 tonnes of technical sheets were manufactured and processed and the results were documented and analysed. In this procedure, post-consumer waste is dissolved in a solvent. This separates contaminants and additives from the polymer and creates a PS polymer containing recycled post-consumer materials..

The first customers have already switched to this method and additional practical tests are in process. Even this early in the programme, the response has more than exceeded our expectations. We will provide updates on the project as it continues.

r-PS film structure

The Desto Cup

“The less plastic, the better.” The Desto Cup is based on this principle. Desto Cup technology combines the advantages of plastic and cardboard or paper.

A plastic inlay, as thin as possible, is covered up to the sealing edge with cardboard or paper. It is this cover that provides the cup with the required stability, despite the very small amount of plastic used. Fernholz produces these inlays from PP, PS, rPS, PET and RPET. The cardboard used for this process may be made of up to 90% recycled material. This saves a great many resources, particularly in combination with the reduced amount of plastic – up to 60% less as compared to conventional cups. Not only that, the cardboard is easily removed from the inlay, so that the materials can be separated from one another and recycled.

Single material cups

Offset printing for reliable entry into the recovered substance cycle

In order to conserve resources and the environment, the amount of packaging has to be reduced. In addition to reducing packaging weight, it is just as important that existing packaging can become part of the recycling process, without ending up in landfill, incineration plants or the environment. For that to happen, the material the packaging is made from must be clearly identifiable during the recycling process. Packaging consisting of several different types of materials is a particular problem. Cups with sleeves are a typical example. But of course, no-one wants a cup that is not colourful and lovingly decorated.

In order to conserve resources and the environment, the amount of packaging has to be reduced. In addition to reducing packaging weight, it is just as important that existing packaging can become part of the recycling process, without ending up in landfill, incineration plants or the environment. For that to happen, the material the packaging is made from must be clearly identifiable during the recycling process. Packaging consisting of several different types of materials is a particular problem. Cups with sleeves are a typical example. But of course, no-one wants a cup that is not colourful and lovingly decorated.

However, unlike sleeves, these thin layers of colour on the surface of our single material cups are completely ignored by the NIR detectors used in waste sorting plants. The near infrared detector simply analyses the material based on the infrared spectrum, and the cups are sent to the right location to be recycled.

Becher transparent, bedruckt, 500 g, 95 mm, Fernholz Verpackungen

NFM Cups

Fernholz NFM cups reduce the percentage of fossil resources by up to 50%

Fernholz NFM (natural filled material) cups are made of up to 50% talcum, a raw material that is natural, versatile and cost-efficient. This allows us to reduce the amount of fossil resources in a standard cup by up to 50%, while also using less energy to produce the cups. The talcum we use is mined in northern Europe and mixed with the polypropylene. This significantly reduces CO2 emissions as compared to cups made from pure polypropylene.

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