EcoCortec® recently announced that it has closed another plastic recycling loop with the first delivery of plastic waste from its customer Jakob Schober GmbH (Waldorf, Germany) to Beli Manastir, Croatia. This signals the start of a new recycling partnership between EcoCortec® and Jakob Schober to recover plastic scrap and incorporate it back into quality finished goods. The initiative is a powerful example of how EcoCortec® is helping to make the “circular economy” a reality at the level of a direct customer-manufacturer relationship.

Talking about the circular economy is much easier than making it happen. According to the UN, 46% of plastic waste ends up in landfills, 22% ends up as litter, and less than 9% actually ends up recycled. Why is it so hard to capture and reuse this plastic waste? Among the challenges are collecting material after it has been sent around the world and finding a consistent supply of recycled content within strict cleanliness and quality requirements. These issues can make it difficult for manufacturers to turn used packaging into anything more than cheap garbage bags.

EcoCortec® has not let these barriers stop them from pursuing and implementing a circular economy in the VCI films market. First, EcoCortec® introduced VpCI®-126 PCR in early 2023. This version of Vapor phase Corrosion Inhibiting film contains 30% post-consumer recycled content (PCR) sourced from a recycled raw material supplier that follows strict quality standards. Eco-conscious customers like Jakob Schober intentionally order VpCI®-126 PCR to achieve a better environmental footprint.

EcoCortec® is able to go above and beyond simply producing film with PCR content, thanks to its onsite recycling facility, where EcoCortec® can reprocess both post-consumer and post-industrial scrap. Jakob Schober naturally ends up with much of the latter as it creates 3D bags from both VpCI®-126 PCR film and regular plastic film for their export packaging kits. Scrap builds up quickly, and in March 2024, Jakob Schober entered into an agreement with EcoCortec® to ship clean plastic scrap to the Beli Manastir plant for reprocessing. After further inspection at EcoCortec®, the scrap was re-granulated using state-of-the-art reprocessing equipment and tested in the lab before being used in VpCI® Film production. EcoCortec® does the same with used packaging from a local construction company and EcoCortec’s sister company CorteCros®, thus minimizing waste and expanding the use of PCR in finished goods beyond VpCI®-126 PCR film alone. The same truck that brought VpCI®-126 PCR to Schober was loaded with VpCI®-126 PCR scrap for transport to EcoCortec® 1,000 km away, resulting in additional fuel savings for a better carbon footprint as well as a circular economy.