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Sustainability: High recycling rate for paper packaging

Creating a Circular Economy with Flexible Packaging Paper

In the packaging industry, the principle of the circular economy is the order of the day. Many of our material loops are already working very well. This is the case for our fiber-based packaging, which according to Eurostat boasts the highest recycling rate in Europe at 83%, even higher than metal and glass. The rate for plastic is much lower, at 40%.

Circular Economy

Flexible packaging is material-efficient in and of itself, regardless of the material used. It protects the products inside, and guarantees their shelf life with minimal use of materials. It also provides ample space for communicating with consumers. Many forms of flexible packaging consist of complex material compounds that are difficult to reuse. As a result, they are rarely recycled in practice and the best-case scenario is that they are incinerated for thermal recovery.

However, the NexFlex® product line is able to combine the benefits of flexible packaging with the circular economy. We develop paper-based flexible packaging paper with and without barrier properties that serves as an alternative to flexible plastic packaging and is also recyclable. Unlike mixed plastics, NexFlex® products can be recycled as wastepaper. However, there is still one challenge we face: ensuring that wherever it is used, as much paper-based packaging as possible is sorted and recycled separately from other packaging materials. This is the reason why Koehler Paper joined the 4evergreen alliance in 2020, which was founded shortly before to pursue the mission of “Perfecting Circularity Together.” 

The alliance was launched by Cepi, the European paper industry association. The alliance’s goal is to achieve a recycling rate of 90 % for fiber-based packaging across all of Europe by 2030. The members of this alliance cover all aspects of circular value creation. The aim is to create synergies between companies that produce fiber-based recyclable packaging that can be recycled and reused over and over again. Ultimately, the alliance wants to make a contribution to achieving a more climate-neutral and more sustainable society.

More about our sustainability goals in the area of resource efficiency: More information

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