“Thinking outside the box”
Green packaging for greater sustainability
The abundance of images of littered beaches and packaging waste in nature have only served to reinforce our belief at HARTING that not only do we have a responsibility to help protect the environment, but we need to be a driving force in its preservation!
For almost two and a half years, the Packaging Management team has been working with our packaging film supplier and the Production Division at HARTING Electric in Espelkamp to reduce the ecological impact of our packaging. In the 21/22 fiscal year alone, approx. 5.5 million metres of flat film were processed into bag packaging at HARTING.
Although the film used up until now was already 100% recyclable, this achievement shows that there is always room for improvement!
The project started as a result of collaboration with a student who carried out a market analysis for the purposes of evaluating alternative and potentially more sustainable packaging materials.The study compared bioplastics, classic corrugated cardboard boxes, corrugated cardboard boxes with a proportion of grass, folding boxes and plastics with a proportion of recycled material.
Various factors were taken into account, including the impacts of higher packaging weight during transport, the manufacturing process or actual utilisation in the recycling stream. And the results of the study even surprised us: The film in use to date was already in second place in the sustainability ranking!
This meant that we would only improve by using plastics that have already been recycled.
The key aspect that continues to set the film apart from other materials is, in addition to its capacity to be reused, its low weight. When it comes to the transport of goods, significantly less CO 2 is produced thanks to the lower weight. Together with everyone involved in the project, we successfully developed a packaging film that is still 100% recyclable but is made up of 80% recycled plastic.
The majority of this recycled material actually comes from the common yellow rubbish bags, i.e. the waste that accumulates in our homes.
The new recycled film has been in standard use since July 2023 and offers the following advantages among others:
- 80% reduction in the need for crude oil for our packaging film
- Reduction of CO 2 e pollution by 75.5% (saving of 276,240KG CO 2 e per year)
- Greater recycling rates thanks to increased demand for recycled plastic
The expansion of the use of recycled plastics in other packaging materials and in other HARTING plants is ongoing and is being carried out on a phased basis in order to continue to reduce the environmental impact.