Global progress report highlights the success of German medium-sized enterprise
The current progress report issued by the internationally known Ellen MacArthur Foundation clearly shows that the medium-sized company Werner & Mertz not only set lofty goals for recycling use, but also has taken a worldwide lead in implementation.
Those goals – by 2025 all packaging will be 100% recyclable and made of 100% post-consumer recyclate and no new plastic will be used – were first announced by Werner & Mertz at the Our Oceans Conference on Malta in 2017. One year later, the Mainz cleaning products company officially pledged to meet those goals as part of the New Plastic Economy Global Commitment. Within the framework of the initiative led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, more than 500 signatories around the world have committed to achieving ambitious targets for the sake of a functioning circular plastics economy. Among them are companies that account for 20 percent of the world’s total plastic packaging, governments, investors and other organizations. All signatories have committed to achieving a common vision:
- Elimination of all problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging
- Advancement of innovations so the plastic we need is reusable, recyclable or compostable
- Keeping plastic in a closed cycle so that it cannot land in the environment and cause damage there
Implementation of the goals is documented annually in a progress report.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation released the third progress report in November 2021.
More than 570 million plastic bottles of 100% Post-Consumer Recyclate to date
While many of the signatories strive to convert their plastic packaging to PCR for only some of their products or brands, Werner & Mertz is one of the few pursuing the goal of converting all packaging to 100% recyclate. The Mainz-based company has shown that it is equal to the challenge. Thus far, 53.9% of all plastic packaging throughout the entire portfolio is now made of 100% used plastic. That’s a world record in comparison to all signatories of the Global Commitment!
In its progress report, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation repeatedly singles out Werner & Mertz as a highlight. Werner & Mertz is the only signatory in its sector that will do without virgin plastic completely by 2025. The medium-sized company has already distinguished itself from others in the industry by using the highest share of Post-Consumer Recyclate (PCR) in its packaging.
Steadily increasing recyclate share clearly shows pioneer role
Werner & Mertz has converted all the transparent PET bottles for the Frosch brand to 100% used plastic. For the company’s entire brand assortment, which includes Frosch and Green Care Professional, the brand for professional cleaning, the rPET rate stands at 99.2%. In addition to post-consumer material from the European deposit bottle collection (Bottle to Bottle), since 2014 the company – as a major exception in the market – has used a high share of recycled material from European household waste collection systems like the Yellow Bag (now at 50%). To date, more than 570 million such bottles have been put in the retail market – a world record!
The company already produces a large share of its HDPE bottles from 100% post-consumer recyclate. All bottles and five-liter canisters for the brand Green Care Professional are made from 100% Post-Consumer HDPE Recyclate. The cartridges for the Quick & Easy product rage also consist of 100% recyclate that comes from the household waste collection.
“The recyclability of packaging makes sense only when recyclate can be put to high-quality use. In recent years the use of recyclate in packaging has increased too little, as shown by the data in the current progress report. Unfortunately, fresh crude oil, which enjoys tax exemptions, is still less expensive than Post-Consumer Recyclate and that’s why many companies continue to use virgin plastic in their packaging. Voluntary commitments by a few companies cannot achieve climate protection goals. Governmental action is called for here,” says Reinhard Schneider, owner of Werner & Mertz.