Dm Drugstores Are Taking Back Plastic Bottles

Since October 2021, drugstore retailer dm has been testing packaging returns in a pilot project in selected stores.

The dm company wants to use a pilot project to find out whether customers are willing to return empty, non-deposit plastic bottles such as shampoo and detergent bottles to the stores. This could create an additional opportunity to collect plastic bottles and then use them to produce new, high-quality packaging.

Around 150 stores in the Karlsruhe and Munich areas are to take part in the test. Here, customers can return plastic bottles purchased in the dm stores or via the online store in the appropriate compartments of the recycling boxes in the checkout area,  regardless of color and size as long as they are empty of residue.

According to the company, the returned bottles are transported to a nearby recycling company using the logistics already in place. “There, they are weighed, processed into high-quality recyclate and reprocessed by a bottle manufacturer into bottles for the dm brands,” it says. By using recyclates in its own-brand packaging, the drugstore company aims to have 90 percent of its non-food plastic product packaging contain at least 50 percent recyclate by 2025.

“Only a few recyclates recovered from packaging have so far met the qualitative requirements to be used to make packaging again. For us, it will be exciting to see whether and to what extent our customers accept the packaging take-back service and which resources we ourselves have to use to achieve the necessary quality in the recyclates,” explains Kerstin Erbe, who as dm Managing Director is responsible for the Product Management department.

dm’s commitment to the resource-conserving use of virgin plastics is embedded in a holistic approach that focuses on reducing packaging, using recycled materials, and recycling. “In product development and manufacturing of packaging, we pursue three goals: we want to use as little material as necessary, as much recycled material as possible, and also maximize packaging recyclability,” explains Erbe.

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