In mid-March 2019, the injection moulding machine manufacturer Engel Austria was one of the first plastic machine manufacturers to sign the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The aim of the initiative is to create a circular economy. In cooperation with more than 350 other companies, universities and organisations, Engel has committed itself to actively contributing to the transfer of plastics into closed material cycles.
“As a member of the international plastics industry, we are not only responsible for our own products, but also for the products that are produced on our machines," stresses Dr Stefan Engleder, CEO of the Engel Group, headquartered in Schwertberg, Austria. “It is important to us to utilise our experience and knowledge to ensure that people in all regions of the world will handle plastics responsibly and that the conditions are created for plastic products to be returned to the material cycle at the end of their useful life. As an individual company, our influence is limited. This is precisely why we are involved in the New Plastics Economy Initiative. It networks the global players and makes our common concern more heard."
In concrete terms, the initiative founded in 2018 is about avoiding unnecessary packaging and ensuring that by 2025, all plastic packaging will be reused, recycled or composted. Each member company is asked to set individual goals and report regularly on its progress to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
Creating new applications for recycled materials
As a supplier to the plastics processing industry, Engel supports its customers in designing and producing packaging according to the rules of the circular economy and in opening up a wider range of applications for recycled materials. In this regard, the focus is on the following topics:
- To guarantee a high process consistency and to prevent rejects with the help of intelligent assistant systems, even when the raw material is subject to strong quality fluctuations, as is often the case with recycled materials.
- To further increase the proportion of recycled material in sandwich components with the aid of innovative processing technologies.
- Working closely with processors in the course of product development with the goal of reducing material usage and enabling the subsequent recycling of products.
- To further strengthen the consulting services in the area of upstream processes in order to optimize the processing of recycled materials for injection moulding.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is one of the leading global drivers of the circular economy. Since 2010, the organisation founded by British sailor Ellen MacArthur has been committed to a sustainable, resource-saving economy.