The patented stand-up pouch by Werner & Mertz and Mondi receives the renowned WorldStar Packaging Award 2020 in the "Household" category. The highly innovative bag, which is 100 percent recyclable, clears several sorting and recycling hurdles on the way to real recyclability, according to the jury.
In a four-year cooperation with the global packaging and paper company Mondi, the Mainz-based cleaning agent company Werner & Mertz developed a completely recyclable bag made of mono-material (polyethylene) with a removable banderole in accordance with the Cradle to Cradle principles. The concept solves the problem of recycling printed plastics: around 80 percent of its total packaging material is not printed on. This means that the material can be recycled without loss of quality.
However, the remaining 20 percent, the printed band, is also fully recyclable, as it is free of adhesives and bonding agents, and therefore can be reused in new applications. The independent institute Interseroh also attests the stand-up pouch a “very good recyclability that cannot be optimised further.”
Reverse engineering makes innovations possible
The technical concept and design of the bag were developed by means of so-called “reverse engineering”, i.e. designing from the end of the product cycle. All stakeholders of the value chain were involved – perfectly adapted to the recycling process and to a circular economy. The development of the stand-up pouch even had an influence on the design of the sorting systems. This is because until now, there was no sorting and recycling option for so-called film pieces smaller than size A4; instead, the films were sent to thermal utilization facilities. “The film content in the yellow bag makes up approx. 40 percent and thus holds enormous potential that has not been used up to now!
In the spirit of “Design for Recycling”, it was therefore important to us not only to develop a stand-up pouch that is theoretically completely recyclable, but also to be able to guarantee the practical implementation of said recycling,” packaging developer Immo Sander says. For this reason, during the several years of development work, manufacturers of sorting systems and units were consulted repeatedly to guarantee separate sorting and recycling.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
The bag also achieves all three goals of sustainable packaging management, reduction of the amount of plastic used, reuse and recyclability: The bag can be completely recycled – meaning the plastic remains in the cycle (Recycle). In addition, the bag saves up to 70 percent of packaging material compared to a bottle of the same content (Reduce). And finally, thanks to the refill packs, the original bottle can be refilled again and again (Reuse). Another special feature: The original bottles of the Werner & Mertz consumer brand Frosch are already made of 100 percent recycled plastic from near-household collections.
The first refill bags made of mono-material for the Frosch brand have been on sale since November 2019. In the course of 2020, Werner & Mertz will convert all its Frosch brand pouches to the innovative concept and expand the range to include its professional brand green care PROFESSIONAL.