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As REHAU has proved through its past actions, the company takes the issue of sustainability seriously – and that goes for RAUKANTEX edgeband solutions too. Now the Interior Solutions division is introducing the next stage: REHAU ReTurn, the new component in the RAUKANTEX eco.protect portfolio. This recycling concept represents the first step in making edgebands part of a long-term resource cycle. With immediate effect, customers can return unused edgebands – mainly in their original packaging - to REHAU free of charge. REHAU will then turn these edgebands into new products.
“To us, sustainability is not a trend; it is part of our corporate philosophy,” says Daniel Elfe-Degel, Team Leader Product Management and Sustainability Officer for REHAU’s Interior Solutions Division. By producing edgebands and surfaces in a way that conserves resources, the division consistently offers the interiors sector new possibilities for the design of sustainable living spaces. Now Interior Solutions is opening a new chapter in its sustainability portfolio: with immediate effect, customers can return unused edgebands - mainly in their original packaging. REHAU then brings the edgebands back into the resource cycle. “This is in line with our three-pronged approach,” confirms Daniel Elfe-Degel. “We want to conserve resources, produce in a sustainable way and keep products and raw materials in the cycle. These three aspects will lead to an environmentally friendly economy.” To reach these goals, REHAU has taken concrete measures for specific product lines. The proportion of recycled material has already been increased in the production of RAUKANTEX edgebands, for example, with more alternative raw materials utilised. In avoiding the thermal recycling of edgebands that are no longer required, the first stage of the recycling initiative marks a fresh milestone on the road to a circular economy.
Customers also benefit from the ReTurn circular concept
The new service deals with unprocessed edgebands made from ABS and PP. By returning these, customers ensure the materials can be reused and recycled without needing to be thermally scrapped. The procedure is as follows: customers with stocks of complete and unprocessed edgeband coils can report these quantities to REHAU. REHAU collects the materials from the customer and ships them on to specific collection points. The quantities are then sorted and processed into regrind. REHAU bears the costs of transport and processing. The recycled material is then fed back into production. This benefits not only the environment but also the customer by generating savings on disposal costs, cutting storage costs and making room for logistics. Most importantly of all, in partnership with REHAU, customers play an active part in reducing CO2 emissions while conserving resources. Through this, they are paving the way for the accomplishment of future recycling targets in relation to plastics – targets currently being defined as part of the European Green Deal. The core elements of this will be: A ban on the thermal recycling of plastics, an increase in recycling rates and the mandatory use of recycled materials for production.
A circular economy as the next step in a comprehensive sustainability concept
The circular initiative is the next logical step in the development of ‘green’ edgebands. That said, the scheme is just one more component in a spectrum of activities that REHAU has been expanding for years. Since 2020, for example, European edgeband production facilities have used 100 percent renewable energy sources. Two sustainable product lines have also been introduced: for the production of RAUKANTEX eco, 50 percent post-industrial recycled material is used, while RAUKANTEX evo is produced using non-fossil primary raw materials instead of crude oil (in contrast to conventional polypropylene edgebands). “Also, the countries of the EMEA region have already phased out PVC edgeband production,” says Daniel Elfe-Degel. “We will keep on following this path, having taken a big step with the ReTurn recycling concept.”