Injection molding machine manufacturer Engel, headquartered in Schwertberg, Austria, has announced the founding of the Verpackung mit Zukunft (Packaging with a Future) platform in collaboration with six other companies from the Austrian packaging industry. The aim of the initiative is to improve public awareness in the 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, Engel stated in its announcement. The other companies that co-founded the platform — Alpla, Greiner, Coca-Cola Österreich, Nestlé Österreich, Interseroh, and Eremaand — are already making important contributions toward achieving this goal with their technologies, said the press release.
"The circular economy is an interdisciplinary challenge," said Dr. Stefan Engleder, CEO of the Engel Group. "Only together can we successfully master this challenge and quickly take the first comprehensive steps.”
The focus of the joint commitment is plastic packaging, which needs to make up lost ground when it comes to meaningful handling, disposal, and recycling, which has caused the loss of consumer acceptance, said the release. However, Engel noted that plastics often have a significantly better CO2 footprint compared with packaging made from other materials. "We will not be able to master many of the challenges of the future without plastics," Engleder emphasized. "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."
As an injection molding machine manufacturer with a high level of expertise in systems solutions, Engel is involved at various levels, including process consistency. 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 more widespread use of recycled materials. Additionally, Engel is collaborating with processors in the early stages of product and process development to continually reduce the amount of material used and facilitate the subsequent recycling of the products.
The seven founding members of the Packaging with a Future platform are also establishing new standards for sustainable packaging at a supra-regional level. In an open dialogue with politicians, organizations, and the public, they are making a decisive contribution toward a differentiated perception of plastic packaging, said the release.