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Recycled plastics, recyclates and plastic recycling

Circular economy in the plastics industry

For H&K Müller, as a sustainable and future-oriented manufacturer of plastic injection moulding jars and injection moulded parts, the topics "Circular economy in the plastic industry", "Recycling of plastics" and "Recycled materials" are of great importance within the framework of the company's policy and philosophy. With this page we would like to provide factual information and clarification on the above-mentioned topics in general. In addition, we would like to show the commitment of H&K Müller in the field of plastic recycling as well as the extensive range of plastic jars, packaging and injection-moulded parts made of recycled materials.

What are recycled plastics?

Saving resources by reusing plastic waste

A recycled plastics material, or recyclate, is generally the product of a recycling process. Transferred to the recycling of plastics, the term "recyclate" is thus a synonym for recycled, i.e. reprocessed plastic waste. Although a wide variety of materials, such as wood, paper or glass, can be recycled, the term "recyclate" is mainly used in relation to recycled plastics. By reusing the valuable raw material plastic, not only resources but above all the environment can be protected. Depending on the condition of the plastic waste to be recycled, recyclates can be obtained by different reprocessing methods. Basically, plastic recyclates are divided into two main categories, the "Pre Consumer Recyclates" and the "Post Consumer Recyclates":

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Pre consumer recyclates

Plastic waste from industrial production

Pre consumer recyclates are obtained from industrial waste, which is usually generated during production processes, during the start-up of production plants, in the form of sprues or as scrap. Industrial plastic waste is usually produced in large quantities and sorted by type, and can therefore be shredded without major sorting or cleaning effort and then reused. Many plastics processing companies have special plastic mills for this purpose, in which pre-consumer recyclates are produced by shredding the production waste. Unfortunately, there are areas of application for even the highest quality Pre Cosnumer recyclates, which are not allowed to be used due to high demands on product safety and hygiene. For example, the use of recyclates for primary packaging materials in the food and pharmaceutical industry is generally prohibited due to strict legal requirements of the regulations EC 10/2011 and EC 1935/2004. Even in cosmetic packaging, recyclates may only be used to a limited extent and under certain circumstances.

Post consumer recyclates

From the waste of the end user back into the material cycle

Post consumer recyclates are obtained from the waste of the end consumer, i.e. the yellow bag or the yellow garbage can. The post consumer waste is collected, sorted by type of plastic (PP, PE, PS) and then shredded, washed and melted down to new plastic granulate. Since the post consumer recyclates obtained in this way can only be used again to a limited extent as primary packaging for food, pharmaceuticals or cosmetics due to the high demands on hygiene and product safety, research has been underway for some time now into new recycling processes for the recovery of plastic waste. In these new methods of chemical recycling, the unsorted plastic waste is returned to the starting products of plastics production by pyrolytic decomposition. By the action of heat, catalysts and solvents, the polymer chains of the plastic waste are shortened and even broken down into monomers. New plastic raw material can then be refined from the basic components obtained. Recycled material obtained by chemical recycling may also be used for packaging materials in the food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries.

H&K Müller's commitment to circular economy

Resource-saving and sustainable plastic injection molding

H&K Müller, as a manufacturer of plastic packaging and injection molded parts, places particular emphasis on raw material and energy efficiency in plastic injection molding. These aspects were especially taken into account during the planning as well as during the construction of the new company site, which was put into operation in 2009. By means of sophisticated energy technology, heat recovery and a large photovoltaic system with a capacity of 410 kWp, CO² emissions of around 200 t per year can be saved. An energy management certification according to DIN EN ISO 50001 guarantees a permanent and consequent control of the energy processes at H&K Müller. More than 95 % of the plastic jars and injection molded parts produced by H&K Müller are sorted by type and can therefore be easily and completely recycled.

Sustainability and environmental protection at H&K Müller

Recyclates at H&K Müller

Plastic jars and injection molded parts from recycled material

H&K Müller recycles approximately 98.000 kg of pre-consumer plastic waste from rejects and other production waste every year. This waste is regranulated in mills specially provided for this purpose and then flows almost completely back into the production process. As a manufacturer of plastic jars, plastic packaging and injection molded parts, H&K Müller has been producing articles made of 100% recycled material for over 50 years. Through continuous sampling, testing and close cooperation with several well-known post consumer recyclate manufacturers, a large part of the extensive standard range of screw top containers, slip lid jars, measuring beakers, measuring scoops and round jars can be produced from pre consumer as well as post consumer recyclates. We would be pleased to advise you on a packaging, dosing aid or an injection moulded part made of a suitable recyclate type for your application.

Pre and Post Consumer Recyclates at H&K Müller

Injection molded parts and plastic jars from recycled material and recyclates

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