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For the second time in a row, volunteers in six countries will join together to collect garbage and waste along the River Rhine on September 14. To support this project, 100,000 sponsored garbage bags made from 100 percent recycled plastic waste will be sent now to key locations throughout Germany. From there, the bags will be distributed to the teams participating in the cleanup.
The project organizers sent out a call to clean up the shores of the Rhine to prevent the garbage from being swept down the river to the North Sea. Last year, about 10,000 people joined the cleanup campaign and collected 100 metric tons of garbage. This time, the team wants to go one better – they aim to break the 200-ton mark! Things look very promising. Since May, the initiative has already mobilized helpers in 100 districts on both sides of the Rhine. “This time we expect 20,000 helpers to join in the Rhine cleanup and do their bit to remove waste from the Rhine shores,” predicts Ingo Lentz from the RhineCleanUp Team.
100.000 bags from 100 percent recycled post-consumer waste
A project of this size depends heavily on sponsors and local garbage disposal companies, either to equip the helpers or transport the garbage to waste disposal centers. “So, it was great news for us when Reifenhäuser signaled they wanted to back our project,” says Lentz. The idea originated in 2018 during the Reifenhäuser Marine Litter project when Lentz first contacted Reifenhäuser employees with the request whether Reifenhäuser could donate sustainable garbage bags. The project soon took off thanks to Reifenhäuser’s extensive network and the right partners. Following the company’s initiative, the EREMA Group, Verpa Folie Weidhausen, and FVH Lobbe pledged their support. The result? 100,000 garbage bags made from 100 percent recycled post-consumer waste.
As a general rule, the use of virgin material is unavoidable in this type of application. Nonetheless, the four companies made good their pledges: FVH processed the recycling granulate from post consumer package waste on an EREMA line. Verpa extruded and printed the film on a Reifenhäuser Blown Film line and produced the bags. The action and good collaboration between the four companies made the RhineCleanUp even more sustainable than it already was as the helpers will collect waste in garbage bags which previously served their purpose for packaging.
“The hands-on mentality which the RhineCleanUp stirred up on behalf of the environment and the numbers of those mobilized is remarkable,” comments Ulrich Reifenhäuser, CSO of the Reifenhäuser Group. He adds: “We also tackle the issue of waste with responsibility. Recyclability is always a requirement when we develop new technologies. In the future, lines and machines that produce film and nonwoven will be capable of processing recycled plastic so that waste plastic is returned to the recycling economy - and does not end up in nature.”