Kurz develops process for recycling residual PET materials

The technology fully closes material cycle

The company spend three year in developing the technology

Germany-based Leonhard Kurz, which provides thin film technology, has developed a process for recycling residual PET materials. This enables the carrier foils from Kurz transfer finishing products to be returned to the material cycle. The recycled material can be used as an injection molding material for high-value applications.

The company has succeeded not only in recycling the residual material, but also in turning it into injection moldable material. While recycled plastics are usually used for simple secondary applications such as exercise mats, park benches or flowerpots, the PET material developed by Kurz can be utilized for sophisticated injection molding applications.

Kurz said it has spent three years and a total investment of several million euros working on the PET recycling concept which provides for the collection and shipment, or pickup of the used Kurz transfer products at the customer, and conversion of the material into new injection molding material in the company’s own recycling facility.

A recycling facility in Fürth is currently in pilot operation. At present, it is recycling residual Kurz PET material from Edelmann, a packaging manufacturer. The next step will be to employ the PET recycling concept for further customers. For the medium term, it is planned to establish recycling facilities at all Kurz international manufacturing locations to ensure a sustainable approach through short transport distances. The company is also demonstrating consistent sustainability practices in its use of energy at the recycling facility in Fürth. As with all its manufacturing plants in Germany, the recycling facility will use only power from renewable sources.

“As a global market and innovation leader in the printing sector, we view it as our duty to offer the printing and plastics industries sustainable ways to achieve excellent finishing and decoration,” says Markus Hoffmann, member of the management board at Kurz. “For many years now, we have been striving to ensure that our transfer products are manufactured, processed and disposed of in a sustainable manner. Thanks to our new recycling process, we have now fully closed the material cycle.”

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

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