RKW is a member of many associations and organizations concerned with sustainability, such as IK Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen e.V. (sustainability working group), EDANA Sustainability Forum, BKV – Plastics, Recycling Concepts, ERDE Recycling and the CEFLEX organization. The company is also active in many areas of sustainability, for example, through its efforts to reduce film thickness, through developing environmentally friendly solutions, and in the Zero-Pellet Initiative, where companies commit to minimize the loss of pellets or plastic granulates throughout the process chain. See the complete list here.
As a leading manufacturer of film solutions, we have a responsibility to support a sustainable future. We are aware that, while plastic granulates are only a minor contributor to marine pollution, we must also actively seek ways to reduce the loss of plastic granulates into the environment during production, distribution, storage, transport and processing.
To counter the growing pollution of coastlines and oceans, the trade associations PlasticsEurope (plastics manufacturers) and the VCI (Chemical Industry Association) have founded the “Zero Pellet Loss” initiative, which is part of the global project „Operation Clean Sweep®“. The aim of both organizations is to minimize the loss of pellets throughout the process chain.
RKW has joined the ranks of numerous other companies and implemented the “Zero Pellet Loss” initiative in its plants. This has been realized in cooperation with the two associations, and in particular, with the German Association for Plastics Packaging and Films (Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen e.V., IK).
Actions to further reduce pellet loss include:
- Audits (root cause search for leaks)
- Clearly legible signage around the production sites
- Disposal points for cleaning pellet spillage
- Easily accessible cleaning tools and the measurement of pellet loss
- Installation of sieves on rainwater drains to prevents pellets from entering the environment
- Dirty pellets are immediately collected for recycling, thus preventing possible downstream pollutions
Since the commitment of our employees is crucial, training and communication in the factories is key to successfully avoiding the leakage of pellets into the ecosystem. Furthermore, we have ongoing clean-up activities in our factories.
All RKW Sites are “Zero Pellet Loss” certified, with activities continuously taking place. We regularly monitor these measures and continually optimize them.
As stated in our business mission, RKW is committed to developing sustainable actions that make wise use of our planet’s valuable resources. Our goal is to reduce the carbon footprint of our products and production processes. Evaluating our use of energy will help us to reduce CO2 emissions within our area of responsibility, as both are closely connected.
We are doing this in several ways:
- We develop more sustainable products with lower environmental impact. Since raw materials generate the largest share of total CO2, we strive to save material by downgauging. Over the past years, we have significantly reduced the thickness of several of our products, such as those of backsheets or shrink films. Downgauging reduces storage space, CO2 emission due to transportation and energy consumption.
- We have initiated several programs aimed at reducing CO2 emissions at our Sites. This includes our evaluation of the entire life cycle of products to measure their impact on the environment due to factors such as CO2.
- RKW invests in Group-wide CO2 reduction projects. For example, most projects in 2017 focused on illumination systems. Equipping several locations with the latest LED technology resulted in savings of more than 300 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year.
These CO2 equivalents of more than 190,000 metric tons per annum correspond to the emissions for which we are responsible. Upstream or downstream emissions resulting from the use of raw materials or from thermal recycling are not included.
RKW is convinced that economic success and sustainability go hand in hand, and that environmental protection does not constrain financial achievement. That is one reason why the company has held internal sustainability contests between its locations since 2012.
The RKW Sustainability Award goes to the Site that has demonstrated the most significant improvement over the previous three years. With this distinction, RKW encourages all Sites to strive toward continual betterment in the sustainability domain.
The Sites are evaluated in the areas of economy, ecology and social responsibility, factors that are consistent with the strategic goals of RKW. They include KPIs covering health and safety, leadership, customer satisfaction, business growth, material and energy efficiency, order and cleanliness, recycling quotas and CO2 emissions.
In 2019, the Echte site won the award after reaching the highest total score. The site showed significant progress in the reduction of energy consumption and production waste as well as an increase in profitability and positive development of safety KPIs. The second place has been awarded twice to the sites in Halberstadt and Michelstadt, with outstanding performance in the areas of safety and customer service.