Recycled packaging from own factory

Houweling Group is taking an extra step in circular packaging. With the setting up of Plastics United we produce our own recycled packaging. This allows us to reinforce our knowledge, services and wide assortment of rPP and rHDPE packaging.

Chain cooperation

‘If you cannot divide, you also can’t multiply,’ is displayed in large letters in the Designlab of Houweling Group. It is a memorable statement from DGA Marc Houweling who after many years of management has now been owner of the family concern for the last 6 years. He refers here to the importance of collaboration and sharing knowledge in the chain. ‘Circular packaging is not something you do alone. Companies have to feel the necessity and have to invest if they are to come to a circular solution. We have to do it together.’ Companies such as Koppert Biological Systems and EMM International work together with us in the area of recycled packaging.

Own factory

Houweling Group’s wish to collaborate and to look for partnerships can be seen, for instance, from the newly set-up packaging producer Plastics United. In the Houweling premises in Bleiswijk, a factory has been set up especially for the production of packaging from post consumer and post industrial recycled plastic (PCR and PIR). ‘We are now less dependent on external producers,’ says commercial director Fred van Beek. ‘With your own factory, you have more possibilities to test. We have, for example, produced a jerrycan with a level line that is made completely from recycled plastic. And the cap is made from rHDPE. It is a sustainable factory with solar panels and 100% electric machines. The machines run on green electricity, residual heat is used for heating our new office and we make products from 100% recycled plastic.

Because we produce at our own site and do not import from abroad, we have fewer transport movements and so reduce our CO2 emissions.

Fred van Beek, commercial director at Houweling Group

UN-approved rHDPE cans

Another project within Houweling Group is the development of UN-approved recycled plastic packaging. Together with the Belgian Packaging Institute (IBE-BVI), Houweling Group is working on a pilot to produce UN-approved packaging from a closed raw material flow. ‘By law, UN-approved packaging has to be made from virgin plastic,’ explains business development manager Dennis Jongmans. ‘This is actually an outdated requirement. We’ve had talks with BE-BVI and have carried out various UN tests. These look good and we are now investigating how we can ensure this. In addition, it is fine that we now have the entire chain under our control. From the collection of used packaging at our customers’ to the production.’

Reward

‘You need one another in the development of sustainable packaging,’ decides Marc Houweling. ‘Without customers who want to invest in sustainability, we cannot develop and produce. And eventually it pays off. We are already seeing this. The raw materials prices for virgin plastic are currently increasing more than those of recycled plastic. Our customers are also now being rewarded financially for their CSR policy.’

Read the full article in Verpakkingsmanagement juni 2021.