Mainz cleaning products company advocates tax on plastic
Politicians meet medium-sized company: Steffi Lemke, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection, and Katrin Eder, Rhineland-Palatinate Minister for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy and Mobility, made a joint visit to the headquarters of Werner & Mertz in Mainz on 18 July. Reinhard Schneider, owner of the manufacturing company of ecological detergents and cleaning products, presented a status report on the Recyclate Initiative. In 2012 Schneider founded the initiative in which cooperative partners along the value chain actively pursue and promote high-quality mechanical recycling of used plastic from household waste collections like the Yellow Bag.
To date, more than 740 million bottles of 100 percent post-consumer recyclate have been manufactured in Mainz and filled with Frosch and Green Care Professional brand products. The initiative’s most recent success is the new spray head whose mechanical components are made from recyclate. The refill pouch of a monomaterial also makes an important contribution to cutting down on packaging and to promoting high-quality mechanical recycling.
From left: Federal Minister for the Environment Steffi Lemke, Werner & Mertz owner Reinhard Schneider and Rhineland-Palatinate Environment Minister Katrin Eder. Copyright Photo: Werner & Mertz / Mathias Sporn
Working toward a circular economy for plastics
In a discussion with the ministers, Schneider emphasized how important it is to continue advocating and advancing high-quality mechanical recycling of plastic packaging. Plans that attempt to equate chemical recycling with mechanical recycling pose a danger for packaging recyclers. For one thing, the low price of virgin plastic prevents a true transformation in the market. “For a level playing field, the use of climate-damaging new plastic has to be taxed. That can happen by converting the EU recycling fee into a tax on new goods and by cancelling the subsidy for the manufacturing of virgin plastic,” said Schneider. Then the use of recycled plastic would pay off and lead to greater investment in high-quality mechanical recycling.
Expand the circular economy to protect the environment and climate
“Strengthening the circular economy is indispensable for environmental and climate protection reasons. Progress can be made by developing the fee charged for non-recycled packaging waste and paid to Brussels in such a way that it encourages manufacturers to come up with reusable packaging solutions, produce recyclable packaging and use plastic recyclate for the production of new packaging,” said Rhineland-Palatinate Minister Eder. “Werner & Mertz is a pioneer in this field. That’s why we talked with the company about ways to make the plastic tax sustainable.”
The ministers could get an idea of the family-owned company’s integrally sustainable way of working on a tour of the modern Production Center and the in-house packaging production of partner ALPLA on the Werner & Mertz premises.
From left: Federal Minister Steffi Lemke, Werner & Mertz owner Reinhard Schneider, State Minister Katrin Eder, and Timothy Glaz, Head of Corporate Affairs at Werner & Mertz. Copyright Photo: Werner & Mertz / Mathias Sporn
When developing laundry detergents and fabric softeners, the focus is usually on cleaning performance and the effect on the fibres and shaping of textiles. For some years now, environmental properties have additionally gained in importance, as this topic increasingly concerns the public and more and more people are interested in reducing their ecological footprint.
The ideal product, however, should master another challenge: it should be skin-compatible and cause neither skin irritations nor allergic reactions. The cooperation with Dermatest GmbH, an independent dermatological institute for testing the safety and skin compatibility of industrial products, marks Tana-Chemie’s pioneering role. The sustainable detergents and fabric softeners of the Green Care Professional brand have been successfully tested and have been awarded the Dermatest seal for proven skin compatibility.
The Dermetest seal of approval is a scientific label for independently tested products which come into contact with the skin. Products which are labelled with this seal have proven their safety in terms of exposure time and site of application in patch tests. Exceptional safety when it comes to your skin!
Our skin is only a few millimetres thick. And yet it protects us from many dangerous environmental influences and performs vital functions for the body. It prevents the penetration of pathogens, fungi and moisture, houses nerve fibres, immune defence cells, touch receptors, blood and lymph vessels, stores energy and serves as a heat insulator. It also plays a significant role in our well-being. Daily contact with hundreds of substances, liquids and surfaces poses a great challenge and danger to the skin. Textiles, and thus also the detergents and fabric softeners used, are in particularly long-term and extensive contact with our skin on a daily basis. Additional friction can also irritate the skin. Therefore, the skin compatibility of these products is particularly important.
In order to meet this demand for its products, Tana-Chemie had the skin compatibility and safety of the Green Care Professional detergents and fabric softeners tested by Dermatest GmbH. Epicutaneous tests of the use concentrations according to the application instructions were carried out on volunteers under dermatological control. These tests follow internationally recognised guidelines*:
At least 30 test persons are selected for each test
Male and female test subjects are included regardless of the subsequent target group of the product
All test persons are older than 18 years
By selecting certain skin types, e.g. sensitive or atopic skin, the tolerance for certain products and skin types can be tested
The one-time contact in the context of a test is intensified in comparison to the later application in order to achieve a meaningful result
For testing, the test products are applied in a suitable concentration to a self-adhesive patch and stuck on under occlusive (closed) conditions for 24h. The occlusive conditions under the patch intensify the contact of the skin with the product, which increases the significance of the result. The assessment of possible skin reactions is carried out according to the recommendations of ISO 10993-23:2021 (Section 8, Annex E).
Since the course of the reactions provides information about the type of reaction (allergic or irritant), three readings are the quality standard at Dermatest. The first assessment takes place 30 to 60 minutes after removal of the patch, a second and third reading takes place 24 and 48 hours after the first reading.
Only when the product has successfully passed this test is the Dermatest seal and the rating “dermatologically tested” awarded.
The detergents and fabric softeners in the Green Care Professional line have successfully passed the tests and have thus been awarded the Dermatest seal and are thus proven to be skin-friendly and safe to use.
* (10993-23:2021, Section 8 and Annex E (Irritation testing of medical devices on human skin), the guideline of the German Dermatological Society (DDG) and the German Society for Allergology and Clinical Immunology (DGAKI) on “Performance of the epicutaneous test with contact allergens” (AWMF guideline register).
About the Dermatest GmbH
Dermatest protects your skin. Since 1978. The independent dermatological institute tests all substances and items that come into contact with the skin for safety and skin compatibility and awards safe products with the Dermatest seal. The effectiveness of cosmetics is also independently checked at Dermatest. A large team of scientists from dermatology, allergology, food chemistry and biology ensures scientific competence and accuracy. Many tests are carried out with the help of volunteers, some of whom have been working with Dermatest for years. All tests take place under medical supervision and in accordance with international guidelines. Since 2009, Dermatest’s quality management system has been certified according to DIN EN ISO 9001 and audited by TÜV Rheinland.
Since the Corona pandemic, our health awareness has increased. We pay more attention to our diet and we do more sport. In Germany alone, the fitness industry, with its approximately 9 million members, is one of the forms of exercise with the largest number of members. For studio operators, this is good news. But comprehensive training support is not enough. Compliance with hygiene standards is the guarantee that gym members feel good. We show here which aspects can be particularly taken into account per area.
First impression counts
The entrance area is the business card of the gym. It is important to leave a lasting and positive first impression. Since Corona, every visitor should have the opportunity to disinfect his hands here. Attention should be taken to ensure that the floor covering is insensitive to alcohol splashes or protected by means of a protection mat. The meanwhile widely used Plexiglas panes require special care, as not every cleaner is suitable for this material. Therefore, a cleaner with the appropriate material compatibility should be selected. For the counter area, the use of a ready-to-use cleaner is recommended. Direct application without intermediate steps leads to optimal results in just a few seconds – saving time and money. This way, cleaning can also be done during opening hours to maintain the highest hygiene standards. Some systems, such as Quick and Easy from Tana-Chemie, allow foam application of the cleaners. The resulting reduced aerosol formation contributes to maintaining good air quality and thus also to a feel-good atmosphere for the gym members.
Safe odor control for humans and the environment
Pleasant smells can have a positive influence on the environment. Especially in highly frequented areas of gym, people sweat a lot. Sweat odor accumulates and becomes a challenge for odor control. Regular airing is important for air exchange, but cannot eliminate all odors. Air fresheners use a lot of perfume to mask bad odors, they only work for a short time and quickly reach their limits. Therefore, the use of a biotechnological cleaner is recommended as they eliminate bad odors in the long term. Natural microorganisms penetrate deep into the dirt layers and effectively decompose malodorous, organic residues. After application, they continue to work thanks to microbial dirt dissolvers and prevent new organic dirt formation. They are safe to use for humans and the environment and have a high material compatibility.
Sustainably clean and hygienic changing rooms and sanitary facilities
According to a study by the German Employers’ Association of Fitness and Health Facilities (DSSV), more than half of the gym members in 2021 stated that hygiene standards were relevant when choosing a gym. This is especially true for the changing room and sanitary facilities with their different materials and barefoot areas. The often insufficient ventilation, heat and high humidity provide excellent breeding grounds for germs.
It is therefore a stated goal to remove visible contamination and to reduce the (non-visible) number of germs to a harmless level. This state is called sanitation. Sanitation is achieved by acids typically used in cleaning, such as lactic acid, citric acid, amidosulfonic acid or methanesulfonic acid. The acidity ensures a sufficient reduction in germs, which is necessary for the required hygiene level in maintenance cleaning. This is supported by special surfactant combinations that are used in typical sanitary maintenance cleaners. Volatile acids such as acetic or hydrochloric acid are not recommended, as these can damage many materials.
Which detergents are best suited for this area depends, on the one hand, on the type of soiling. These include organic soiling such as soap residues, dander and lime soap. In addition, there is a variety of mineral soiling such as lime, rust, urine scale or even brownstone. Secondly, the type of surface plays an important role. Therefore, during sanitary maintenance cleaning, it is important that the method used, with the acids and other ingredients it contains and the associated mechanics, is suitable for the surface to be cleaned. Application concentration and duration must be chosen correctly according to the soiling. This prevents damage to the existing surfaces and increases value retention. This in turn maintains the pleasant appearance of a modern sanitary room.
Most maintenance cleaners are acidic and therefore only suitable for acid-resistant surfaces such as intact chromium-plated metal and plastic elements, stainless steel, some plastics, ceramic products, glass, porcelain, acid-resistant natural and artificial stone, etc. Typically only acids that are not too aggressive are used for maintenance cleaning. This protects surfaces but also the users. To achieve effectiveness, Sanet daily is a good example. The foam adheres to the surface and effectively counteracts lime soap and supports the cleaning performance.
For the cleaning of acid-sensitives surfaces such as ones made of polyacrylic or lime-bound materials, use acid-free sanitary maintenance cleaners. These are very similar to a classic all-purpose cleaner and the application concentration is around the neutral point (pH 7). Regular maintenance cleaning of such materials is important to avoid the formation of limescale deposits, wihich cannot be removed by acid-free products. Limescale deposits can nevertheless be effectively prevented in combination with e.g. scratch-free pads.
Customized disinfection protects athletes, sports equipment and the environment
Sports equipment and items are used by many people, leaving behind sweat, endogenous germs and dirt. But there is good news here: Detergents containing surfactants effectively reduce the germ load. Especially in the course of Covid 19 virus prevention, the use of such cleaners is an alternative, because the virus belongs to the enveloped viruses. The viral envelope consists of fat and is torn apart by the use of surfactants with their fat-dissolving properties. This makes it easy to inactivate the virus. A normal maintenance cleaning routine to clean the surfaces, for example with an all-purpose cleaner, is therefore sufficient. Instead of biocide products, sustainable cleaning agents can thus be used. The more material-friendly cleaning has a positive effect on the environment and keeps the surfaces intact for a long time.
Disinfection is only necessary in case of a proven infection. For this purpose, disinfectants that only have a minor effect on the surfaces are suitable. In principle, a material compatibility test should be carried out at an inconspicuous area. Especially cleaners with quaternary ammonium compounds disinfect reliably with a broad spectrum of activity and short exposure times. This active ingredient is surface-active and impairs the function of the cell membranes of germs. Apesin multi for example uses this active ingredient and is suitable for use on both non-porous and porous surfaces, such as wood or leather, as there is no degreasing effect. Apesin multi is registered in the German VAH List of Disinfectants.
Hand cleaning, regular air exchange and careful maintenance cleaning pave the way for a safe and healthy workout. Proper maintenance cleaning is thus a clear success factor for gyms. In addition to economic processes, it also provides the necessary feel-good atmosphere to keep members coming back.
Down textiles – light as a feather, providing cozy warmth – like duvets, pillows as well as jackets, e.g., of residents in retirement and nursing homes are a real challenge for professional laundry. How can cozy natural products made of real feathers and down stay fresh, clean, and fluffy in the cold season?
“With a few tricks and the right detergent, you will keep feathers and down fresh for a long time and also ensure the necessary hygiene,” explains Angelika Büttner, expert for professional detergents at Tana-Chemie.
Cleaning even sensitive materials in a safe way for people and the environment requires compliance with certain properties. Besides a high material compatibility, the absence of bleaching agents and optical brighteners, as well as EU Ecolabel certification, other sustainability aspects should also be taken into account.
Thus, the sustainable ACTIV delicat fine and wool detergent by Green Care Professional fulfils these properties and is mainly based on renewable raw materials. The mild detergent protects textiles and cares for fine and sensitive fibres with almond oil, thus ensuring clean down textiles. Its formulation is biodegradable and harmless to the health of the users of the textiles. ACTIV delicat is dermatologically tested and as it contains neither dyes nor phosphates, it is also ideal for hand washing.
In in-house laundries with only few wash cycles per day, the question arises as to whether washing powders can meet laundry hygiene requirements. Can this be done without sacrificing optimized energy, water and chemical efficiency? Is the use of washing powders with manual dosing sustainable?
The answer is provided by Tana-Chemie’s Green Care Professional brand washing powder range. Sustainable solutions for all types of soiling and textiles guarantee outstanding washing results. And with the freshly revised formulations for even more sustainability! The concentrated powders are characterized by high performance, which not only saves transport energy. The reduced dosage also minimizes costs per wash load. The smaller packaging is user-friendly and saves storage capacity. A key part of the revision is, of course, the biodegradable ingredients and EU Ecolabel certification. The formulations are free of microplastics and complexing agents such as EDTA, NDA, phosphates and chlorine-containing compounds.
Less Powder. More Performance. Complete green.
ACTIV intense: High performing laundry detergent with long-lasting fragrance, perfectly suitable for old people’s and nursing homes
ACTIV performa: High performing laundry detergent for bleaching and degreasing, perfectly suitable for use in hotels, restaurants and cafés
ACTIV bicompact, Ultra concentrated laundry detergent for short washing cycles and particularly energy-saving, can be used from 20°C
Our Green Care Professional family is still growing
For the Professional Division of Werner & Mertz, 2022 promises to be a thoroughly green year. In the “Go Green“ project, the Mainz specialists for professional cleaning are hard at work, enlarging the product portfolio of their sustainable Green Care Professional brand. In the process, the formulas and packaging of several Tana Professional brand products are being reworked and optimized for a sustainable circular economy and their inclusion in the Green Care Professional portfolio. Thus, the recyclable solutions for professional building cleaning will be significantly expanded again.
“With our choice of ingredients for Green Care Professional, we are setting standards today for ecological products that often deliver better cleaning performance,” said Dr. Paula Barreleiro, Head of Formula Development at Tana-Chemie GmbH. “We are steadfastly following this path with “Go Green”. In pursuit of our goals, we are tapping the experience and technology of our closed loop sustainability concept for the Green Care Professional brand.”
In the future many of the reworked products will bear the respected eco credentials such as the Cradle-to-Cradle certificate, EU Ecolabel and the Austrian Ecolabel. “These certifications are a visible sign that we are raising the sustainability of our customers to a new level with our product conversions. We see this as the most promising way to a circular future,“ says Xiaoming Bai, Head of International Product Management and Marketing.
The next big step
The ecological products for cleaning professionals developed by Tana-Chemie GmbH since 1987 were brought together under the eco brand Green Care Professional in 2011. In recent years the company has been steadily modifying its Tana Professional products for the circular economy. The next big step is coming up in 2022. “This will definitely be our ‘Go Green’ year,” says Bai. “By the end of the year, we will have incorporated the major share of the planned Tana products into our Green Care portfolio.”
The large-scale transformation involves many products from the areas of Building Cleaning, Kitchen, Laundry and Personal Hygiene. Their formulas and packaging adhere even more closely to the principles of the holistic circular economy. In addition, formulas contain a greater share of plant-based raw materials which are biologically degradable and thus suitable for a return to the biological cycle. After usage, the packaging made of high-quality recycled plastic and based on Design for Recycling specifications is held in a closed technical cycle.
“You can see in the example of our sanitary cleaner SANET lavocid,“ says Barreleiro, “how we are reworking our Tana Professional products for their integration in the Green-Care portfolio. Since its transformation, the product has been EU Ecolabel certified. Now free of preservatives, the formula contains surfactants based on renewable plants and natural citric acid. Furthermore, the packaging is made of 100 percent recyclate and is kept in a closed loop with proper recycling.”
More information about the “Go Green” project can be found at
Tana-Chemie GmbH auf der Interclean 2022. Copyright: Tana-Chemie GmbH
Interest in sustainability and the circular economy is growing by leaps and bounds in the professional building cleaning sector. That’s the take-away for Tana-Chemie, the Professional Divison of Werner & Mertz, from this year’s Interclean trade show in Amsterdam. Several hundred companies presented their latest solutions and concepts for professional cleaning from 10 to 13 May in the Netherlands capital.
At the Werner & Mertz Professional booth at Interclean, visitors from all over the world got a good look at the newest products, services and digital tools from the eco pioneer. As usual, the company’s fair presence revolved around the key concept of a sustainable circular economy. “It was fantastic that after a purely digital interlude in 2020, we could finally talk face-to-face with customers,“ says Thomas Ulbricht, CEO of Werner & Mertz Professional. “The atmosphere among the fair visitors was very positive and the interest in our products and topics was enormous.”
Compared to the last live fair in 2018, it was easy to see that sustainability has become the focus of all companies at Interclean, according to Mr. Ulbricht. “As a long-time pioneer of the circular economy and ecological product design, we obviously benefit from this new eco awareness. Which, not least of all, could be seen in the large crowds at our booth.”
The transition to the circular economy
A highlight at the Werner & Mertz Professional booth was a three-dimensional installation that demonstrated the two recycling loops for Green Care Professional brand cleaning products. In one, plant-based raw materials that go into the cleaning products from Green Care are biologically degraded in nature and returned to the biological cycle. The packaging made of high-quality recycled plastic and designed for recycling is kept in a closed technical cycle.
“In this eye-catching model, our customers can see how our products support them in speeding up their transition to the circular economy,“ Mr. Ulbricht says. “It was quickly clear to many visitors that our cleaning solutions also raise customers‘ sustainable use to a whole new level. And that’s made possible without any extra effort from the user. Our Green Care portfolio is a sure way for our customers to become heroes of the circular economy.”
One of the products and digital tools available to users pushing the green transformation in their own companies is the Green Care Academy, an innovative continuing education program for cleaning professionals. On this newly developed eLearning platform, professional cleaning staff have access to practical instructional videos with easily understood information about daily work routines.
Using the free online tool Green Care Performance Calculator, visitors at the booth could find out how many tons of plastic waste, crude oil and greenhouse gases they could avoid by switching to sustainable cleaning products from Green Care Professional. With KLIKS – Pouch, the company introduced a sustainable innovation for its KLIKS dosing system. Now Green Care concentrated cleaners are available in space-saving plastic pouches whose design purposely eliminates all unnecessary packaging material.
Guest speaker at INPACS GmbH
Werner & Mertz Professional went outside its own booth to share the message of the innovative power of a sustainable circular economy. Xiaoming Bai, International Marketing Director at Werner & Mertz Professional, was invited to speak at the INPACS GmbH booth. In his keynote address, Bai led the audience step by step through the transitional process to a successful circular economy and spoke about what the European Green Deal means for the professional cleaning sector.
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.
The eco label Green Key and the Green Care Professional brand of Tana-Chemie GmbH have extended their partnership to 2024. The non-profit run eco-certification for environmentally friendly accommodations and the Professional Division of Werner & Mertz, the Mainz-based cleaning products manufacturer, joined forces in 2019 to promote sustainable solutions for washing and cleaning in the tourism industry.
Green Key is a voluntary eco certificate for hotels, hostels, campgrounds, attractions, conference centers and restaurants. Green Key certification is based on strict criteria for sustainability management and sustainability training of personnel and suppliers. Compliance with the criteria is checked in annual audits. Currently, more than 3,000 facilities in more than 60 countries bear the Green Key seal. The program is administered by the international charitable organization Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).
Green Care Professional is one of the world’s leading sustainability brands for commercial building cleaning. The hygiene solutions of Tana-Chemie GmbH are distinguished by their environmentally compatible ingredients and innovative recycled packaging made from used plastic. For its unwavering focus on sustainability in all business areas, the Professional Division of Werner & Mertz was awarded the sought-after platinum medal by the CSR rating agency EcoVadis. That officially puts Tana-Chemie among the most sustainable companies in the world.
Performance Calculator: Online calculation of ecological benefits
Collaboration with Green Care Professional delivers real support to Green Key member companies as they work to achieve their sustainability goals. Since 2019 Green Key has made available its stand-alone version of the Green Care Performance Calculator from Werner & Mertz Professional. With the online tool, companies can figure out how much the conversion to sustainable cleaning products reduces their own ecological footprint.
The Performance Calculator yields concrete data on how many tons of plastic waste, crude oil and greenhouse gases a user can spare the environment by using environmentally friendly products. The tool is available to certified members on the Green Key Website under the heading “Washing and Cleaning”.
“We are very happy that we can continue our successful collaboration with Green Key in the coming years,” says Thomas Ulbricht, Head of the Professional Division of Werner & Mertz. “Wherever Nature is destroyed by climate change and pollution, the tourism industry loses one of the most important basics for its business. Therefore, together with Green Key, we will continue our work of explaining to owners and guests the environmental benefits of a functioning circular economy.”
About Green Key Green Key is a voluntary ecolabel for hotels, hostels, campsites, holiday parks, small accommodations as well as conference centres, attractions and restaurants. The Green Key award is based on compliance with strict criteria in the areas of environmental management (water, energy, waste, cleaning, etc.) and sustainability education (staff, guests, suppliers, etc.). Compliance with the criteria is confirmed through a rigorous application process and verified at on-site audits. The award is valid for one year at a time. Currently (May 2021), more than 3,000 establishments in 60 countries are Green Key awarded. The programme is managed by the international charity, the Foundation for Environmental Education. Green Key is endorsed by the World Tourism Organization and its hotel criteria are recognised by Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
FEE International Head Office Green Key International Scandiagade 13 2450 Copenhagen SV Denmark firstname.lastname@example.org www.greenkey.global
For many years, Tana-Chemie GmbH, the Professional division of Werner & Mertz, has been recognized as the sustainability pioneer in professional cleaning products. Once again, the company has lived up to its reputation. In June 2021 the Mainz-based cleaning specialists received a Platinum medal for sustainable business from the renowned CSR/Sustainability rating agency EcoVadis. That designation places Tana-Chemie among the most sustainable companies in the world because the best score is awarded in only one percent of all cases.
Since 2007 EcoVadis has assessed companies’ environmental and social practices. The ratings are made in four assessment classes of Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. More than 75,000 companies in 200 industries around the world engage EcoVadis to assess their value chains objectively. In many industry sectors the rating has become a key prerequisite for receiving approval as a supplier. The demanding audit encompasses 21 indicators in the four major themes of Environment, Labor and Human Rights, Ethics and Sustainable Procurement.
With the Platinum rating, Tana-Chemie receives the second EcoVadis rating in its history and takes a direct leap from Silver status into the top group. The themes of Environment and Sustainable Procurement played an important role in the rating. EcoVadis gave positive assessments for the use of recyclable packaging, the utilization of renewable energy and the reduction in water consumption by means of innovative methods, including re-use of water from operational processes.
Business partners of Tana-Chemie can thus enjoy transparent insight into the entire supply chain. They benefit from the continuous improvement of the comprehensive criteria in all areas covered by the certification process. And that creates lasting trust.
Sustainability at all levels
“We are very proud that EcoVadis has awarded us the highest rating,” said Thomas Ulbricht, Head of the Professional Division of Werner & Mertz. “This result reflects our years of efforts to promote the circular economy with our products and packaging and to fulfill our economic, social and ecological responsibility at all levels.”
For a long time the Professional Division of Werner & Mertz has proven its integrally sustainable approach with comprehensive certifications. Among them are EMAS, the world’s most demanding environmental management system and the sustainable building standard “LEED Platinum” awarded to the Mainz headquarters. In 2013 the Green Care Professional brand products were the first professional cleaning agents that were Cradle to Cradle Certified® at the Gold level.
Together with its parent company Werner & Mertz, Tana-Chemie actively supports effective recycling of plastic from post-consumer waste collections within the Recyclate Initiative for the benefit of the circular economy. Established in 2012, the Initiative has received several awards for recycling achievements such as bottles made from 100% recycled polyethylene obtained from the Yellow Bag and the development of a completely recyclable refill pouch.
In addition, Tana-Chemie is collaborating with NABU (Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union) and the Forschungsgruppe für Recht und Management öffentlicher Beschaffung (FoRMöB) at the University of the German Armed Forces in Munich to advance the issue of green public procurement.
Integrally sustainable cleaning under the banner of the circular economy. With support of this cause, Tana-Chemie GmbH, part of the family business Werner & Mertz that’s known for the Frosch brand, won over the pan-European company European Customer Synergy S.A. (ECS). Operating as a strong network for facility services, ECS offers an extensive portfolio ranging from single services to integrated facility management solutions. Effective immediately, the Professional Division of the Mainz-based cleaning products manufacturer Werner & Mertz joins the ECS “Preferred Supplier Program”. That means offerings from ECS will include cleaning products from Tana-Chemie with a special focus on the eco brand Green Care Professional.
The Green Care products from Tana-Chemie are developed according to the Cradle to Cradle® principle. From the outset they are designed to be suitable for closed material cycles, that is, their materials can be returned completely and harmlessly to the biosphere or recycled for qualitatively high re-use. Cradle to Cradle® Design includes a detailed evaluation key to assess the materials used and their recyclability, use of renewable energy and CO2 management, prudent use of water and social responsibility. In 2013 the brand Green Care Professional was the world’s first professional cleaning portfolio to receive the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Gold award.
Since the end of last year, Tana has been the sole supplier of cleaning chemicals for maintenance and special cleaning to ECS Shareholders WISAG Gebäudereinigung GmbH & Co. KG., which has customers throughout Germany. For some time now the market for facility services has not been purely national. “There’s great potential there”, says Thomas Ulbricht, Head of the Professional Division of Werner & Mertz. “The cooperation between Tana-Chemie GmbH and ECS with the Preferred Supplier Agreement supports us in our plan to anchor integral sustainability in professional cleaning beyond the German borders.”
“In facility management services for international customers, ECS emphasizes sustainability, environmental protection and quality in its use of resources and materials. To support those efforts, the company entered into a partner agreement with Tana-Chemie GmbH, the Mainz-based manufacturer of hygiene and cleaning products. The products convince users with their quality, low-dosage use and – unique to the market – packaging made of 100% recycled plastic. We look forward to our close cooperation,” says Thomas Fastenrath, CEO at ECS. “From now on we will include the Tana products in our sustainability concept for new and existing customers.”
About European Customer Synergy S.A. (ECS): European Customer Synergy S.A. (ECS) is a Pan-European facilities management company, headquartered in Brussels (B), delivering a full suite of facilities management services varying from single services to integrated facilities management solutions. ECS proactively manages its customers’ facilities management operations and real estate portfolios by exploiting its local expertise, European experience and technology. The goal is to be the leading local owner-driven pan-European facilities management services provider, appreciated for delivering peace of mind, top quality, and value enhancement for owners and tenants. Each customer is different. That is why ECS offers tailored integrated facilities management solutions. Based on a thorough analysis of customer needs, requirements and strategic objectives, ECS develops an industry-leading solution.
Cleaning products manufacturer increases rPET share in its bottles to 50% from the household plastic waste collection „Yellow bag“
A sensational breakthrough for the circular economy is announced by Werner & Mertz: The Mainz-based manufacturer of detergents, care and cleaning products, together with its cooperation partner ALPLA, has increased the share of recyclates from the household waste collection „Yellow bag“ in its PET bottles to 50%! The PET Recycling Team Wolfen has now achieved what many considered impossible.
Green Care Professional: New recycling bottle standard for professional cleaning detergents
All PET bottles of the Green Care Professional brand will be converted to the new material by the end of the year. This will make Green Care Professional, a brand by Tana-Chemie, which belongs to the Werner & Mertz Group, the first professional cleaning detergent brand with bottles not only made of 100% recycled plastic but even up to 50 % of this recycled material coming from real post-consumer waste.
Advanced Mechanical Recycling thanks to fully automated plant
Back in 2012 Werner & Mertz, ALPLA and other cooperation partners along the entire supply chain brought the Recyclate Initiative to life. In their joint efforts since then, the collected used plastic known as “Post Consumer Recyclate” or “PCR” is reprocessed at high quality, used again and thus kept in a closed loop. In 2014 the Initiative succeeded in converting PET bottles for the well-known Frosch brand to 100 percent PCR, 20 percent of which came from the Yellow Bag. The remaining 80 percent was from the European beverage bottle collection system (Bottle to Bottle). More than 400 million such bottles have since been put on the market.
Werner & Mertz has long worked to raise the share of material obtained from the Yellow Bag. With the technology previously available, it was not possible to achieve the desired transparency with rPET. A decisive step forward was taken in October 2020 when the PET Recycling Team Wolfen GmbH got to work. More than 8 million EUR was invested in this joint venture established by ALPLA and FROMM, the parent company of Team Wolfen.
In the new recycling plant nearly everything is fully automated. The PET, delivered by trucks to Wolfen, comes from the Yellow Bag or Yellow Bin exclusively from German collection systems and plastic processors and goes through presorting in lightweight packaging equipment. At the Wolfen site the transparent PET and colored PET are separated. In this fine sorting, the focus is on PET hollow articles such as non-deposit PET bottles, PET bottles for household cleaners and plastic trays. The residual material is likewise separated. The high-quality fine sorting is an advanced development of Near Infrared (NIR) technology. In the next step Textplast GmbH turns the recovered material into transparent granules, which are then further processed by ALPLA into preforms and bottles. In this way the recyclable material from Germany is recycled in Germany and processed again into bottles for international companies. It is a completely national solution in which transport distances remain low.
“Werner & Mertz is not just a long-term and valued customer for us, but also a catalyst for the entire industry. We hope that this example will motivate other companies to use high-quality recyclate. Everyone is talking about sustainable packaging. Together we are proving that it works,” says Georg Lässer, Head of Corporate Recycling for the ALPLA Group.
Reinhard Schneider, owner of Werner & Mertz, emphasized that the look and feel of the new bottles do not differ from the previous packaging. “The customer won’t notice a difference in the quality. We won’t say which format will be converted first. We did the same with the change to 20 percent from the Yellow Bag in order to see the reaction. Conclusion: none at all. No one noticed. For us that is the best proof that genuine sustainability is possible without giving something up or making half-hearted compromises.”
Demands for statutory incentives for the use of PCR
The example shows that high-quality sorting technologies are available and the quality of the recyclate is high. Why then is Werner & Mertz practically alone in using recyclate from the Yellow Bag?
Schneider says, “The high costs of recyclate compared to virgin plastic still scare away many manufacturers. This problem has been made worse by the declining price of crude oil. If the demand for high-quality recyclate does not grow, there is no reason to invest in better sorting and processing as ALPLA has just done in a big way. And yet, recycling will become more economical as more companies get involved. It’s an enormous opportunity.”
That’s why Werner & Mertz is demanding that lawmakers create financial incentives for the use of PCR, which would effectively counteract the trashing of our planet and achieve the goal of a climate-friendly circular economy for plastic. Werner & Mertz advocates setting up a fund system to which all companies that bring plastic packaging to market would contribute. Those who use Post Consumer Recyclate would then receive a reimbursement.
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