Cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute and Beiersdorf

First Nivea cosmetic bottle made from 100% recycled polyethylene

With their internal pilot project “Recyclist”, Beiersdorf wanted to develop a Nivea cosmetic bottle made from 100% recycled polyethylene (PE). They called upon us to help. Together with the Fraunhofer Institute, we were able to successfully realize this exciting project.

Normally, simple cosmetic bottles are recycled after a single use and are usually downcycled to low quality recyclates. Our goal was to produce high-quality materials that can be used for reuse in cosmetic packaging. To this end, we developed a comprehensive recycling concept for Beiersdorf.

The starting material for the “Recyclist” pilot project came from an internal collection campaign by Beiersdorf. All Beiersdorf employees in Hamburg were called upon to collect empty PE product bottles. Within two months, around 2,600 bottles were collected. We carried out various preliminary tests in order to determine how to best recycle the collected bottles into pure PE recyclate. We determined the right shredding technology for the subsequent storing of the ground material and evaluated washing processes to remove product residues and labels. The shredding, washing and label separation took place on a technical scale at GmbH. The optical sorting of the regrind on HDPE was carried out by the Fraunhofer IWKS, and the PE compounding at our institute. Finally, around 2,500 new bottles made from 100% pure Beiersdorf PE recyclate were produced and filled from the PE granulate obtained. With the internal pilot project “Recyclist”, Beiersdorf was able to prove the recyclability of its PE cosmetic bottles and test sustainable packaging development based on PE recyclates under real conditions. In accordance with the principle of the circular economy, Beiersdorf aims to increase the proportion of recyclate in Beiersdorf plastic packaging in Europe to 25% by 2025. At the same time, only packaging that is 100% recyclable, compostable or reusable should be used.

Quelle: Beiersdorf, Fraunhofer