With the help of the KHS Group, Eckes-Granini is making its packaging portfolio more environmentally friendly. Since mid-May 2021, its 1L hohes C juice bottle has been made entirely of recycled plastic (rPET)
Since 2018, the German company Eckes-Granini has been using 25% recycled PET (rPET for short) in the production of its hohes C PET juice bottles. Taking into account the EU's plastics strategy and regulations to increase recycling quotas, the company has now made the decision to switch to only using recycled PET. "We want to be a leader in the circular economy and set a good example for the beverage industry," says Hermann Naumann, plant manager of Eckes-Granini in Bad Fallingbostel, Lower Saxony, Germany.
The leading European juice beverage producer has been working on an ambitious sustainability strategy for many years. "Our goal is to continue to steadily reduce the carbon footprint in our production and in our packaging, which means not only reducing material usage but also closing the loop," continues Hermann Naumann.
To this end, with the help of the KHS Group, Eckes-Granini is making its packaging portfolio more environmentally friendly. Since mid-May 2021, its 1L hohes C juice bottle has been made entirely of rPET.
Since mid-May 2021, Eckes-Granini's 1L hohes C juice bottles have been made entirely of recycled plastic (rPET).
The bottle and forming experts at KHS in Hamburg, Germany, are responsible for optimizing the bottles. These brand new bottles continue to be manufactured on KHS' proven InnoPET FreshSafe production module.Reduction of 4,000 t of new material consumption and 8,000 t of CO2 emissions
Customers benefit from KHS' overall project of bottle and forming consultancy, who can draw on its experience in container design and production for over 40 years. Beverage manufacturers can state their preferences for container weight, shape or stability to KHS experts, and KHS as the system supplier can then evaluate the feasibility of the design based on this and with the help of laboratory tests and simulations. Eckes-Granini's statement made it clear: switch to 100% rPET while maintaining consistent container quality. According to the requirements of Eckes-Granini, switching the 1L hohes C bottle to rPET will save more than 4000t of new PET consumption every six months, thereby reducing the carbon emission of the bottle by about 8000t per year.Efficient and sustainable InnoPET FreshSafe production module
Finding ways to conserve resources isn't the only focus of this ambitious project. KHS's InnoPET FreshSafe production module has been operating at the plant in Eckes-Granini since 2017, so in order to use 100% rPET, it was also necessary to study whether the production module had this processing capability.
KHS' InnoPET FreshSafe modules have been operating at the plant in Eckes-Granini since 2017
“One of the issues is that both the preform and the machine need to be adapted to rPET,” explains Dr. Matthias Kruse, Head of PET Technology at KHS. Large differences in molecular length and inhomogeneity can lead to rapid reductions in production efficiency."
Eckes-Granini's sourcing of preforms from two different suppliers presented additional challenges. According to Kruse, preform shape is critical for efficient processing, especially when using high percentages of rPET. Extensive testing confirmed that both suppliers ensured that their preforms were fully adapted to the modular system. All that was needed to optimize bottle production was a few small adjustments to the heaters on this stretch blow molding machine. KHS' NIR or near-infrared technology offers a wide processing window for rPET, for example, allowing very precise heating of preforms prior to stretch blow molding without major changes to the machine or preform shape . “This allows us to achieve extremely high processing efficiencies while maintaining container quality that fully meets our customer’s requirements,” Kruse says with a smile.rPET bottles also have barrier properties
After switching to 100% rPET, Eckes-Granini will continue to benefit from the barrier protection offered by FreshSafe PET. Since 2006, the company has relied on this environmentally friendly system from KHS. On the inside of the PET bottle, a thin coating of chemically pure glass can bring oxygen barrier properties, which not only effectively protects the juice from absorbing oxygen, but also ensures that the bottle is completely recyclable after use. The coating can be easily washed off Eckes-Granini bottles during the recycling process, so this sustainable packaging alternative allows pure-grade bottle-to-bottle recycling.
After switching to 100% rPET, Eckes-Granini will continue to benefit from the barrier protection offered by FreshSafe PET
"Combining rPET with future-proof product protection technologies, Eckes-Granini and KHS have once again demonstrated their pioneering role in the circular economy," concludes Kruse.
Eckes-Granini Germany plans to use only PET bottles made entirely of rPET for all its brands by the end of 2022, thus saving around 9,000t of new raw material every year. As a partner, KHS is also very pleased to continue to be involved.