PreZero Stiftung & Co. KG has grown into a massive environmental services company, including significant plastic recycling operations, through a feeling of obligation and a realization of opportunity.
As part of the Schwarz Group of companies, which includes large retailers Lidl and Kaufland, PreZero is working to close the materials loop from waste creation by consumers to recycling to the production of goods and packaging for customers to consume and use again.
And this is all by design.
When Schwarz Group is described as a large company, it really is an exceptionally large company, with more than 13,300 stores and 550,000 employees in 32 countries. Based in Neckarsulm, Germany, the firm's operations include food and beverage production, including bottling lines.
Through a series of acquisitions in recent years, the company now operates three plastics recycling plants in Europe and one in the United States, in Jurupa Valley, Calif.
Because of the company's massive retail footprint, Schwarz Group wants to take action to counteract the large amount of packaging purchased and used by customers. And that is being done through PreZero.
"We looked for a solution how to be more responsible for not getting rid of the waste but how to handle the waste as a good response to handle the environmental issues. That was the reason," Lukas Mikolajczyk, head of corporate communications for PreZero, said at K 2022.
"Inventing a new brand [PreZero] was for us to take a chance at the time, and the time was very good to expand, not only for our customers but also to show society there is a company which really thinks how to solve one problem. … How can we get rid of the waste," he said.