Innovative, climate-friendly and extremely stable – that's the new, sustainable material made from recycled plastic packaging which outdoor equipment provider VAUDE is using for the first time for the rear panel system on its new “ReCycle” range of panniers. For this purpose, the German family-owned company has worked together with the recycling companies Interseroh and APK.
“The fabric of our panniers has long been made from recycled material – the key innovation is that we can now make a rear panel system from recycled materials as well,” explains Clément Affholder, Project Manager Innovation at VAUDE. The new panniers are the first panniers at VAUDE – and on the market in general – in which all the key materials are made from recycled products.
The panniers have also taken a big step towards VAUDE’s climate goal: “We are aiming for global climate neutrality and want to manufacture most of our products from organically-based or recycled materials by 2024,” explains Antje von Dewitz, Managing Director of VAUDE. This orientation is based on the principle of the circular economy: the use of renewable raw materials and the recycling of materials conserves fossil resources and significantly reduces emissions of CO2 during the production of materials.
A rear panel made from post-consumer waste
The rear panel of the panniers is made of 100 percent Procyclen – a recycled plastic that the environmental services provider Interseroh makes from post-consumer waste taken from the Yellow Bin/Yellow Bag according to strict quality standards.
To enable a light and permanently stable attachment of the pannier to the luggage rack, it is necessary for the plastic design to meet special requirements. The especially for VAUDE developed Procyclen, a polypropylene recompound, has a particularly long-term impact strength in the extremely low and high temperature range, with additional UV and surface scratch resistance being guaranteed. At the same time, an improved tensile strength ensures the geometric stability of the product. “This product is a unique, new formulation, the properties of which have never been achieved before on an industrial scale, including the modification of virgin materials,” explains Dr Manica Ulcnik-Krump, Head of Business Unit Recycled-Resource at Interseroh.
With its “Recycled-Resource” process, Interseroh has perfected the compounding of used plastics and the production of customer-specific recycling raw materials – to the benefit of industry and the environment: according to a study by the Fraunhofer Institute UMSICHT, the use of Procyclen spares roughly 56 percent of greenhouse gas emissions compared with the use of virgin material.
Fastening hooks made from recycled multilayer film
For the pannier’s fastening hooks VAUDE uses a high-performance, reinforced polyamide 6 recyclate from APK AG. The polyamide recyclate was produced using the innovative Newcycling® process, a physical, solvent-based process in which high-purity recyclates are obtained from waste from the manufacturing of PA/PE multilayer film for packaging.
For the hooks, VAUDE required a recycled material which can withstand high loads under the most varied outdoor conditions and stands out due to its durability. It was also necessary to ensure the good colouring capability of the material to take design-relevant factors into account. The recyclate Mersamid® from APK AG fulfils all of these requirements, at the same time as reducing its CO2 footprint in comparison with virgin polyamide by 88 percent (ifeu, 2019).
“We are very pleased to have this excellent opportunity to demonstrate the suitability of our PA recyclates for demanding applications such as the panniers from VAUDE. This is a great example that it is possible to close loop-recycle plastic waste from a material stream that was not previously possible to recycle effectively using conventional technology,” says Klaus Wohnig, CEO of APK AG.
New “ReCycle” range of panniers now available from retailers
The new range of panniers consists of three different sized rear panniers (ReCycle Pro Single, ReCycle Back Single, ReCycle Back) and a shopping bag for the bike luggage rack (ReCycle Shopper). All the panniers are sealed so they are waterproof and manufactured on a climate neutral basis in Germany. They will be available in stores from October 2021 onwards.
As a sustainable provider of outdoor equipment, VAUDE contributes to a world worth living in, so that the people of tomorrow can enjoy nature with a clear conscience. In this respect, the family-owned company sets ecological and social standards along the entire global supply chain. VAUDE publishes an annual sustainability report and regularly undergoes external certification. Since 2001, the company has been working with the strict environmental standard the bluesign® system, which controls the entire textile value chain. The location of the company in Tettnang and all the products to be manufactured there are 100 percent climate-neutral. VAUDE has approximately 500 employees at its headquarters.
For further information, visit www.vaude.com.
Interseroh, an ALBA Group company, is one of the leading environmental services providers for the closure of product, material and logistics loops. From next year onwards, Interseroh will be launching a new dual system and a new concept. The offer from the newly-founded company Interseroh+ GmbH is oriented to all companies which not only want to fulfil their legal obligation for packaging licensing but also want to take responsibility for closing recycling and raw material loops. And if they so wish, they can become a silent partner in the start-up.
The ALBA Group operates with its two brands – ALBA and Interseroh – within Germany, Europa and Asia. In 2020 its divisions generated an annual turnover of 1.9 billion Euros and employed a staff of approx. 8,700 employees. Therefore the ALBA Group is one of the leading recycling and environmental services companies as well as raw material providers worldwide.
Further information on Interseroh can be found at www.interseroh.com.
APK AG was founded in 2008 with the goal of obtaining plastic recyclate from plastic waste with the highest possible degree of purity. In this context, the properties of the recyclate should be comparable to those of virgin plastics. The researchers and engineers at APK have developed the Newcycling® process, an efficient recycling technology that combines mechanical and solvent-based steps. Increasing the quality level in the field of physical recycling technologies and thereby opening the door to new end markets while keeping the CO2 footprint low at the same time is both the mission of APK and its contribution to a circular economy for plastics. APK currently has approximately 130 employees at its Merseburg site. The production facility has an annual recycling capacity of up to 20,000 tonnes. The established plastic recyclates from Merseburg are marketed under the names of Mersalen® and Mersamid®.
For further information, visit www.apk-ag.de.
Find out more about Newcycling® here:
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