Packaging machinery manufacturer Multivac has joined the R-Cycle project, the German initiative aimed at enabling an open and globally applicable standard to ensure the traceability of plastic packaging throughout the value chain, from production through end of life. As a standardised data platform, it can be linked with production facilities of any kind. The aim is to guarantee recyclability through complete documentation of all recycling-relevant packaging properties on the basis of established technologies.
The initial partners to the project were the four plastics machinery manufacturers Arburg, Brückner Maschinenbau, Kautex Maschinenbau, and Reifenhäuser, who collaborated with the Institute for Plastics Processing at RWTH Aachen University on the development of the platform.
Since then, numerous other partners have joined the multi company-based platform, the latest of whom is Multivac.
R-Cycle relies on field-proven marking and tracing technologies, providing physical products with digital information throughout the entire supply chain. These technologies are similar to those already used for fresh produce in the food industry.
R-Cycle records all recycling-relevant information from the production process in the form of a digital product passport. The packaging receives a machine-readable mark – for example a QR or digital watermark code – through which this information can be accessed, allowing waste sorting systems to identify fully recyclable packaging. Precise sorting and information about the exact composition of the packaging (type of plastic, printing inks, adhesives, additives, etc.) are key to obtaining high-quality recyclate for high-value recycling.
Already, numerous pilot projects with partner companies — including worldwide raw material suppliers, retail companies, global brands and independent institutions — are in progress.
"In our Innovation Centre, we are always analysing the latest trends and advising our customers on the market requirements of tomorrow. Digitisation along the value chain has enormous potential in this respect for bringing sustainable packaging into a high-quality recycling process,” said Stefan Scheibel, Vice President Corporate Training & Innovation Center of the Multivac Group.
"Sustainability is an integral part of our corporate strategy," added Guido Spix, Group President of Multivac "We are pleased that by joining the R-Cycle initiative we can support shaping an industry standard and thus make a positive contribution to promoting the circular economy for plastic packaging. The exchange with upstream and downstream processes in the value chain helps us to understand the individual steps even better and to co-develop sustainable solutions."
The Multivac Group has approximately 6,500 employees worldwide, with some 2,300 based at its headquarters in Wolfertschwenden. With over 80 subsidiaries, the Group is represented on all continents. The Multivac portfolio comprises a wide range of packaging technologies, as well as automation solutions, labellers, and quality control systems.