and Recycling economy
Resources are finite
The challenges of our time
Earth Overshoot Day – the day when the earth’s sustainable resources are depleted for the year – is fast moving forward in the calendar. In 2022, Earth Overshoot Day was reached on July 28. And Germany had already exhausted its natural resources on May 4.
The WWF Living Planet Report 2022 confirms this trend and once again points to the dramatic consequences of this great acceleration in human influences on nature, biodiversity and ecosystems. Our era, the report says, is marked by a tremendous increase in human population and sharp rise in economic growth. This not only plays a central role against the background of climate change. Both are associated with a gigantic consumption of energy, water and land. In an unprecedented form, the effects of human activity are leading to massive changes on planet earth and are increasingly threatening ecosystems and us. Science agrees: Future human development is hardly possible without ecologically diverse and functioning ecosystems. The existing challenge of how to cover resource consumption of resources with current use also comes to a head in times of crisis. The geopolitical situation in 2022 illustrates the complexity of raw material flows and their impact in the event of a disruption. The same applies to the Covid-19 pandemic, interruption of delivery routes and effects of climate change.
within planetary boundaries
We also need materials to manufacture our products: In 2021, for example, we used over 175,000 tons of polypropylene. Inasmuch as Jokey was committed to promoting a recycling economy early on, our portfolio has had packaging made from almost 100 percent post-consumer recyclate (PCR) for over 30 years. But real recycling economy is more than the use of recyclates. It requires action at many levels and collaboration of numerous actors along the value chain. We have a clear vision of how the absolute need for resources must be covered by a functioning recycling economy. Plastic offers many advantages if it is used efficiently and effectively in the long term, managed both quantitatively and qualitatively in value-added cycles and ideally processed into new products in a climate-neutral manner. The complete use of recyclates alone could reduce our CO2 emissions by up to 40 percent. Thus, we not only save resources, we also protect the climate at the same time and ensure that valuable materials remain in the cycle.
What we have planned
Jokey Eco Concept goals
We also make commitments with regard to recycling economy in the Global Compact, particularly in the area of environment and climate. Within the Jokey Eco Concept, we set concrete goals for promoting circular economy in all three pillars.
Our measures and projects
for promoting circular economy
Achieving the goal of circular economy requires a wide range of measures. Through our strategic and transformative partnership with WWF Germany, we are sending a strong signal to jointly promote recycling economy for plastic within planetary boundaries and actively implement projects.
Within the framework of the entire value-added chain, we assume responsibility for our projects that goes far beyond manufacturing our packaging. We are committed to ensuring that packaging returns to the material cycle in the sense of a functioning circular economy. In Germany and, we hope, soon all over the world. We rely on open dialog with customers, partners, associations, politicians and NGOs. Together with key players, we are committed to globally promoting and further developing a holistic circular economy. We are working to support the development of waste infrastructure in countries where we are located. And we proactively face up to our extended producer responsibility. We are continuously intensifying our work in networks in order to contribute even more to topics such as waste avoidance, recycling economy and protecting oceans from plastic waste. For example, Jokey has partnered with internationally active NGOs and initiatives such as WWF Germany, PREVENT Waste Alliance, Circular Plastics Alliance (CPA) and Waste Free Oceans (WFO). We are also taking steps to promote circularity within our own supply chain.
Dual system in Germany
Measures to promote circular economy require not only a focus on the product level but also a system perspective. At the beginning of the 1990s, we created the dual system in Germany with many other players. Although our recyclable material collection systems are now leaders in international comparison, the material flows collected can still be further improved in terms of the efficiency and quality of secondary raw materials. The more homogeneous the materials sorted in the collection systems, the more specifically they can flow into the mechanical recycling cycle. Only a high-quality collection leads to high-quality new packaging made from recyclates and thus meets our strict quality standards at Jokey.
Recycled packaging for non-food
We carried out the first trials using recycled plastic back in 1991. At that time, however, customers did not sufficiently accept our grey recycling bucket made of PCR material. Since 2018, we have been promoting recyclate packaging again with our “Grey is the new green” initiative. In the non-food sector in particular, we are already using a wide range of post-consumer recyclates and are implementing measures to continuously increase the proportion.
Closed loops are a promising approach
Here raw materials are kept in strictly closed cycles. We are currently testing pilot projects aimed at closed loops. The idea: Used Jokey packaging is already collected where it is generated, namely by the commercial end user. In this way, we can ensure that raw materials for this packaging are optimally recycled via our own collection system and flow back into our production facilities as high-quality recyclates. For implementing this concept, we develop tailor-made disposal and recycling concepts together with selected partners.
Resource-saving production processes
Overall, we are gradually adapting our production processes and infrastructure for using and processing targeted quantities of post-consumer recyclates (PCR) and circular raw materials. Circular economy also means making sure that resources are used efficiently and kept in circulation during our production processes. In addition to post-consumer recyclates, we also use processed production scrap, which we reuse 99 percent – and have been using since our beginnings.
“Zero Pellet Loss” initiative
This Group-wide initiative also aims to further increase resource efficiency and prevent material losses into the environment.
Value-added strategies for waste avoidance
In addition to the best possible use of raw materials, Jokey is constantly keen to optimize the use of auxiliary and operating materials and reduce the proportion of residual materials no longer required. To this end, we have long since developed processes that ensure waste is processed into raw materials as completely as possible. Waste is first reduced and the remainder sorted according to type of recyclable material and sent for appropriate recycling or reuse.
Circular material management
In the next few years, we will not only expect our raw materials to be circular. If possible, we also want to introduce circularity for all other materials and substances in order to further reduce our resource footprint.
ISCC-PLUS-certified circular PP polymer
To find circular product solutions, especially for the food sector, we also continuously evaluate material and process alternatives, such as using renewable raw materials or various recycling processes. In pilot projects with partners, we are testing the use of circular raw materials, for example with chemical recycling for the food industry. We use ISCC-Plus-certified polymers. These meet the strict quality requirements and hygiene standards for food packaging. However, available material quantities are still manageable. The great efforts invested in these procedures give reason for hope, that from the second half of the 2020s, these recycling processes can also be scaled ecologically and economically in addition to mechanical recycling under the currently critical aspects.
Versatile PP recyclates
With regard to material alternatives, we also have developed among other sources packaging for customers with portions made from maritime waste e.g. obsolete fishing nets and ropes. A proportion of the recyclates obtained flow back into secondary raw material recipes for our non-food packaging.
RAL quality mark percent recycled plastic
By introducing the RAL quality mark from the “Certification Association for Recyclates from Household Collections e.V.”, Jokey sends a clear signal in its product portfolio and guarantees using real post-consumer recyclates, which are obtained from household collections (e.g. yellow bags and bins).
Jokey Eco-Design guidelines
New guidelines for our packaging will be implemented throughout the Jokey Group in 2023. They are the technical basis for our products already meeting the requirements of a functioning recycling economy.
100% emptying and second use
In addition to central issues, such as using circular raw materials, we also consider aspects such as 100% emptying in Eco Design. We want to use this to improve the recycling process for plastic packaging. Another aspect is the durability of plastic. This enables our products to be used a second time and extends their life cycle before they are recycled again.
PP mono material
Jokey packaging is made from polyolefins, primarily from polypropylene or polyethylene. All plastics and decorations used are ideally suited for material recycling and, if available, can be assigned to the most important global collection streams.
A large quantity of Jokey packaging is reused several times in daily use for a wide variety of purposes. This has long included regional reusable deployments. Many of our products are technically capable of doing this in the standard portfolio, but cannot be cleaned and reused again due to the system or because of product contamination and dirt. In the area of service packaging, from 2023 we will be offering products that are fundamentally reusable and have been developed with the technical features of reusable packaging in mind. We are constantly working on further optimizing the recyclable design of our product solutions in this area, for example with regard to cleaning. However, reusablity is also a system issue. In addition to technical requirements for to-go packaging, logistical services such as distributing, sorting, cleaning and re-supplying in production quality with as many circulations as possible must also be guaranteed so that reusable packaging can also have real ecological advantages. An eco-certificate for reusable packaging is therefore not only given by the fact that it can be used several times for the same purpose. Rather, all reusable packaging and systems must be checked for their individual footprint.
Initiatives and days of action
These help us make the subject of recycling economy and use of our resources tangible for our employees, e.g. the closed-loop project with our partner Zentek. This includes, for example, the annual Jokey Global Clean-up Day, which has traditionally been practiced at German locations for many years and was implemented simultaneously on one day at all international locations for the first time in 2022. Depending on the occasion, there are also initiatives or campaigns by individual plants, such as relocating swallows at Jokey Praha as part of a production facility expansion. At the Wipperfürth site, employees regularly take part in an apple collection campaign on a meadow orchard in Oberberg owned by the company. However, activities in the reporting period were still restricted due to the ongoing corona pandemic. In the future, such initiatives will be expanded throughout the Group. Targeted campaigns to promote ecological resources and biodiversity are also planned here.
Material use and resources
Whether it’s processed production waste from our own manufacturing processes or reused cleaning cloths for tools – recycling has been an important topic at Jokey since the beginning along with avoiding waste. In addition to the best possible use of raw materials, Jokey is constantly striving to optimize the use of auxiliary and operating materials in order to reduce the amount of waste generated. As a result, the amount of waste in the Jokey Group has already been significantly reduced. Nevertheless, there is still significant optimization potential at various international locations. For example, we collect used materials such as wood, foil and cardboard and return them separately for recycling. We recommend that customers use transport packaging at a minimum, i.e. only where it is technically sensible and necessary.
When disposing of our operational waste, we also work together with local waste service companies. All internal waste-related data is recorded by our technical controlling personnel. In the main plants, waste officers, who monitor compliance with local waste regulations, arrange collection via competent local service providers and initiate corrective measures in the event of incorrect sorting, are appointed. Our goal must be to transform waste and by-products back into valuable materials.