How we reduce the CO2 footprint of our products

The RKW Group's portfolio includes films and nonwovens for a wide range of applications. Generally speaking, every industrial production has an impact on the environment. These must be compared to the product benefits and possibly alternative solutions - based on the idea that all production companies have a responsibility to reduce the environmental impact of their products while maintaining the same (or even improving) level performance.

In plastics extrusion technology, the use of raw materials is responsible for the majority of the CO2 footprint. The so-called "downgauging" - i.e. the use of ever thinner films - is therefore particularly suitable for minimizing the use of raw materials and thus contributing to the protection of natural resources. On the other hand, the requirements placed on the products - such as making finishing as simple as possible - have remained the same or have even increased in recent years.

CO2 emissions in the product manufacturing process – by example FFS films

There are various ways to achieve downgauging success. This includes investments in new machinery and development of crucial components and control systems. Intensive operator training results in higher quality awareness and shorter feedback cycles. Finally, raw material improvements lead to better film properties at lower film thicknesses. RKW is in constant and close contact to all relevant polyolefin producers and compounders. We also continually test and evaluate new or modified grades. The combination of improvements in three areas – men, machine, and material – have led to significant accomplishments over the past years. Thanks to consistent further development, the CO2 footprint of our backsheet films is now 40% lower than 25 years ago.

In addition to the enhancement of material efficiency, downgauging shows secondary effects on the environmental impact of products. Thinner films result in less energy consumption during the manufacturing process and the subsequent production steps. The possibility to store more film per reel directly leads to a reduced demand of packaging material as well as less storage space and transportation weight, which leads to reduced transportation and thus lower CO2 emissions.