Recyclable packaging is a prerequisite for a functioning circular economy and while you want to consider sustainable options for packaging, where do you start? You might consider software that Henkel (Dusseldorf, Germany) is making available for free that has been third-party evaluated for accuracy.
In order to quickly and reliably determine the recyclability of new packaging, Henkel uses its specially developed software tool EasyD4R, an assessment tool that the company has made publicly available on its website.
“We want to promote open collaboration, and accelerate the transition to a circular economy,” says Dr. Thorsten Leopold, Head of International Packaging Development for Home Care products at Henkel. “This can only succeed if all participants along the value chain cooperate – especially with clear definitions and consistent evaluations. By sharing our assessment tool, we want to contribute to the recyclability of packaging.”
EasyD4R is based on public and recognized criteria catalogs such as those from Plastics Recyclers Europe and is used by Henkel throughout the company. The goal is to quickly and accurately assess the recyclability of packaging already during the early stages of product development. This was confirmed by an independent test completed by Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT. The scientists analyzed the evaluation software and its results and compared them with national as well as international standards.
The software evaluates the recyclability of packaging based on its composition and the individual weight proportions of the respective components such as basic materials, closures, labels or colors. For all materials in question, the tool stores information on the suitability for identification during sorting, and for processing during recycling. On this basis, EasyD4R shows clear results displayed on a traffic-light evaluation system: It provides information on the recyclability of each design as a percentage and the material combinations which can be optimized for recycling. By doing so, it supports the development of sustainable packaging solutions.
“With this tool, the recyclability of product packaging can be evaluated very well,” says Dr.-Ing. Markus Hiebel, Head of Sustainability and Resource Management at Fraunhofer UMSICHT. “We are delighted that companies like Henkel are taking their responsibility seriously and making a contribution to the development of recyclable packaging.”
Standard for drugstore chain suppliers
Since the beginning of this year, Henkel had already shared its evaluation tool on request with other companies and organizations. Henkel also presented the tool to the members of the “Rezyklat-Forum” (“forum recyclate”) initiated by German drugstore chain dm-drogerie markt. The 32 members comprise retailers, manufacturers, disposal contractors and packaging manufacturers who depict the entire value chain along the circular economy. Their feedback was very positive, and dm-drogerie markt established the EasyD4R tool as a standard for all its suppliers.
“Together with our partners in the ‘Rezyklat-Forum’, we are committed to avoiding and reducing plastic packaging, increasing the recycling quota and strengthening the use of recycled material,” says Sebastian Bayer, Speaker of the “Rezyklat-Forum” and Managing Director for Marketing and Procurement at dm drogerie-markt. “For that, it is important to facilitate the current systems for a circular economy, to ensure that product packaging used by consumers can be fully recycled again. The EasyD4R tool from Henkel makes a very important contribution to that.”
As of now, interested corporations, organizations and experts can download the recyclability evaluation tool for free on the Henkel website at www.henkel.com/easyd4r.