Engel is committed to greater sustainability of plastic packaging. In collaboration with six other companies from the Austrian packaging industry, the injection moulding machine manufacturer founded the “Verpackung mit Zukunft” (Packaging with a Future) platform. The aim of the initiative is to improve public awareness of meaningful use of packaging. The companies are taking an active role in the development of a global circular economy for plastic packaging.
Reduce, Replace, Reuse, Recycle – these are the tasks that must be fulfilled to ensure that packaging has the least possible impact on the environment. The seven companies which founded the platform – Alpla, Greiner, Coca-Cola Österreich, Nestlé Österreich, Interseroh, Erema and Engel – are already making important contributions towards achieving this with their technologies. Now the companies, which together cover a large part of the value chain, are joining forces in a network. “The circular economy is an interdisciplinary challenge”, as Dr. Stefan Engleder, CEO of the Engel Group, makes clear. “Only together can we successfully master this challenge and quickly take the first comprehensive steps.”
Plastics for a small CO2 footprint
The focus of the joint commitment is plastic packaging, which has a particular need to make up lost ground when it comes to meaningful handling, disposal and recycling and is therefore losing consumer acceptance. However, compared to packaging made of other materials, plastics often have a significantly better CO2 footprint. “We will not be able to master many of the challenges of the future without plastics,” Engleder emphasises. “It’s not the material that is the problem, but how it is handled. This is why we are increasingly leveraging our know-how and experience to ensure that plastic packaging can be produced, used, disposed of and recycled in a sustainable manner worldwide.”
Paving the way for more widespread use of recycled materials
As an injection moulding machine manufacturer with a high level of expertise in systems solutions, Engel is involved at various levels, including process consistency. The intelligent assistance systems developed by Engel, such as iQ weight control, make it possible to consistently produce high-quality plastic products despite fluctuating raw material quality. This paves the way for a far more widespread use of recycled materials. On top of this, Engel is collaborating with processors as early as the product and process development phase of many projects in order to continually reduce the amount of material used and facilitate the subsequent recycling of the products.
With their technological innovations and many joint projects, the seven founding members of the platform are also establishing new standards for sustainable packaging at a supraregional level. In an open dialogue with politicians, organisations and the public, they are making a decisive contribution towards a differentiated perception of plastic packaging.