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    New from Old - Recycling and Recyclates

    Ever since packaging has existed, there have been disputes about its usefulness. And about the possibility to not only carelessly discard the packing material after use, but to reuse it once or even several times. The fact that packaging is vital to the various products, protecting them and preserving their value and, in some cases, even contributing towards reducing the CO2 output, can be read in my first blog of January 30. Today, I want to focus on the topic of recycling. I’m certain that no-one will disagree when I say that recycling is definitely worthwhile. We can save important, costly resources, avoid waste generation and protect the environment by not throwing away or burning raw materials, but rather reusing them once, twice or several times. Besides this, the production of carbon dioxide is considerably reduced, consequently helping to combat the climate change. At the same time, a PET bottle need not necessarily become a PET bottle again, nor a metal tube a metal tube, nor a carton a carton.

    Plastics are reusable materials

    Many recyclable materials are “reborn” in their second, third or fourth application as something completely different from their previous “life”. I’ll come back later to write about an item that was once, for example, a recycled plastic closure. It doesn’t really matter what is made of what. The main thing is that the matter is given serious consideration and work is done to process and use the valuable raw materials and resources on this earth sustainably and wisely. For some time now, there have been very controversial debates concerning the use of plastics. Hardly a day goes by when there are no reports on plastic in the media. This is certainly related strongly to the fact that the EU is planning or has already imposed bans and quotas regulating the use of plastics. But it is of course open to dispute whether these measures are meaningful and, above all, effective. There is no doubt that the avoidance of (packaging) waste is the best way to reduce, for instance, contamination in the oceans – so-called Marine Littering. It would however be wrong and out of proportion to generally and undifferentiated demonize plastic as packaging material. After all, the fact that the use of plastics in the packaging industry contributes towards reducing CO2, is therefore sustainable and environmentally safe, has already been explained in detail in one of my previous posts.

    Waste avoidance – Recycling – Recyclates

    Again: waste avoidance should be given high priority in all areas of our daily lives. And that, by the way, applies to all recyclable materials and resources, not only to plastics. But often the use of plastic – especially in the packaging industry – makes much more sense and is more environmentally compatible than doing without it. This is the case, for instance, when products are to be protected against premature spoilage or damage, such as during transport. Besides avoiding waste, there is a further very important aspect which should not be ignored, namely, how people deal with the refuse they produce. Carelessly throwing their garbage away, in the worst case outdoors in the countryside, is almost worse than producing it. Because rubbish that is thoughtlessly disposed of is certain to end up in our rivers and oceans. And then it is irrelevant whether it is a bottle or a small plastic bag. That’s why it is absolutely essential to make as many people on earth as possible aware of how to handle and dispose of garbage. After all, we are all sure to agree on one thing: our waste does not jump into the forests, rivers and lakes on its own! If it were properly disposed of, that would be a further significant step in the right direction. And this brings me to the most important point. Proper disposal is good, but recycling is much better - wherever it is feasible and reasonable. Because – and this should be evident to everyone - whenever waste avoidance is not rational or possible, the most obvious solution for the benefit of man, the environment and nature is to reuse raw materials, not only once, but several times. The meanwhile familiar term for this is recycling. The reused raw materials are referred to as recycling material or recyclate. The recycling issue has been gaining significance for some time now and is increasingly gathering momentum. Anyone who shuts themselves off from this matter or hopes to sit it out will not remain competitive in the medium and long term. To say nothing of loss to their public image.

    MENSHEN and Recycling

    MENSHEN already recognized the signs of the times long ago and trusts in recycling and recyclates. And not only by testing a broad range of different recyclates in a variety of composites. For some time now, closures are being produced with recycling materials, and the relevant research, trials and sampling will continue at MENSHEN in the future too. After all, especially where closures are concerned, one of the basic prerequisites is that certain properties of the recyclate must not differ from those of a new plastic. It’s a matter of the tightness, tolerances and processability of the materials that are recovered from household packaging, from separate bin collections or from industrial plastics. And, as already mentioned above, recycled plastic has the same properties as new plastic. It is just as tight, impervious and robust. And it can be processed, printed or finished just like a conventional plastic. In our aim to offer our customers and the consumer recyclates in the highest possible quality and with the best possible properties, MENSHEN have set themselves the task of conscientiously scrutinizing each and every type to ensure they are able to produce and supply closures in the customary MENSHEN quality. After all: MENSHEN MAKES IT HAPPEN.

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    About the Author

    Christian Nöh

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