Sustainability
at RKW

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Practiced Sustainability –
Production

Conserving Resources

Our products help to conserve resources in several ways. Agricultural silage films, e.g., increase the forage yield and perfectly preserve the stored silage. Thanks to our films, packaged food has a longer shelf life, thus contributing to the food waste reduction.

Conserving resources is also one of the key factors when it comes to sustainability in production.

The production of our silage film Polydress® O2 Barrier 2in1, for example, requires 40% less raw materials compared to conventional products, thus saving resources.

Be it regeneration of production waste, re-granulation or recycling, RKW continuously optimizes its production processes to reduce the consumption of natural resources.

  • Direct regeneration of production waste
    • Re-use within the same process
    • Up to 30% in the core layer possible
  • Re-granulation
    • Reuse between different processes
    • Up to 50% re-compound of the core layer
    • Within the same RKW plant
    • Between different RKW plants

Example:
Zero Pellet Loss

As a leading manufacturer of film solutions, RKW is committed to actively seek ways to reduce the loss of plastic granulates into the environment during production, distribution, storage, transport and processing.

Therefore, RKW has joined the ranks of numerous other companies and implemented the “Zero Pellet Loss” initiative in its plants.

Actions to further reduce pellet loss range include audits, signage and disposal points, installation of sieves on rainwater drains, employee training to clean-up activities in our factories, to name just a few.

All RKW Sites are “Zero Pellet Loss” certified, with activities continuously taking place. We regularly monitor these measures and continually optimize them.

More detailed information on the Zero Pellet Initiative can be found here: LINK

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Recycling

At RKW, recycling is one of the key actions we take in our aim to improve sustainability.

Valuable Raw Material

Recycling allows for both ecological and economical gains. It reduces the carbon footprint of raw materials, prevents plastic scrap from affecting the environment, increases supply efficiency and reduces material costs. Thus, RKW does not regard production scrap as lost goods, but as valuable raw material that can and must be re-used in production.

Re-use of Production Scrap

We take steps to re-use production scrap either directly within the production process or between different processes. Each RKW Site has its own recycling facilities where scrap can be processed into high-quality re-granulate. Furthermore, required solvents are burnt in regenerative incineration facilities so that the energy generated can be used for heating.

Products Designed for Easy Recycling

RKW R&D teams develop formulas that allow easy sorting and recycling from the start. Multilayer films with incompatible and inseparable materials are avoided wherever possible. Pre-defining and labeling the scrap category of all products is an integral part of our design process. This makes it easy for operators to classify and mark scrap leftover from production. The scrap of each class is then collected and recycled into a batch of homogeneous pellets.

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Recycling Methods

RKW recycles using exline and inline methods.

  • Exline recycling follows the pattern described above: Scrap is sorted and labeled during production and then aggregated and recycled in centralized recycling centers.
  • Inline recycling utilizes specialized, small throughput recycling extruders that are directly attached to the production machinery. They absorb edge-trim stripes, regenerate them into pellets and directly feed these back into the production process. This allows for the smallest loop possible to reuse scrap in production.

Investments

RKW continuously invests in new recycling technologies. In the past years, several new recycling lines were put into operation. These include new inline recycling lines, the extension of existing recycling facilities as well as one completely new recycling center. This has increased the amount of material we can recycle and allows for the recycling of materials that are more special.

ERDE Recycling Initiative

Our agriculture business is member of the German initiative “ERDE” that organizes the collection, sorting, cleaning, recycling and reuse of huge amounts of used agricultural films. This has resulted in very high proportions of recycled materials in the film products of these Sites.

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Products With More Than 97% of Recycled Material

Another example of products with high contents of recycled raw materials are our industrial disposal bags. In these products, virgin material is only used as part of a master batch to create the distinctive blue color. The rest consists of recycled material, which exceeds 97 % in total.