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Werner & Mertz Professional at Interclean 2022: Crowds rush toward the circular economy

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.

Ellen MacArthur Foundation: Werner & Mertz is leading the world in the use of post-consumer recyclate!

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.

Working together for sustainable tourism: Green Care Professional and Green Key continue their partnership

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
info@fee.global
www.greenkey.global