Why recycling must be thought through to the end


“I cannot get rid of the ghosts I called”. If plastic had already been a topic at the end of the 18th century, Goethe might not have written about brooms with water buckets, but about plastic bags and plastic cups …

Since plastic, as an all-purpose wonder, overtook the world with durable, light and hygienic products that were also cheap and often brightly coloured, a lot has happened. Who would have thought back then of mountains of rubbish stretching to the horizon or fish dying after getting caught in floating plastic waste? 

Since the 1970s, recycling has been supposed to solve the problem, and new packaging regulations are currently aimed at increasing recycling rates. 

But does that really solve the problem?

Of course, it is better if plastic items are melted down and cleaned to make new products – plastic film, for example – and thus reused. But what comes after that? 

Even plastic packaging that has been recycled several times ends up at the end of its life cycle on one of the ever-growing mountains of rubbish or in the sea. If it even gets that far. Because far too much plastic ends up on the side of the road, in the woods or in the fields due to carelessness or convenience, where in the worst case they exist for hundreds of years! 

But what if packaging that is not disposed of correctly and improperly finds its way into nature had a plan B?

Untreated natural fibres such as paper or cardboard would decompose after a relatively short time. However, in many cases these do not offer sufficient protection for the packaged goods, neither from moisture nor from microorganisms or mould. However, if biodegradable products are provided with a protective film, they pollute the environment again.

An insoluble dilemma?

Packaging rethought means: we need a method that gives biodegradable material new, superphobic and food-safe properties without affecting its compostability.

This is exactly what has been achieved with the product innovation SiOPack®! The ultra-thin nanopool coating equips untreated paper or cardboard with a protective barrier that repels moisture, dirt and microorganisms, but is itself 100% decomposable and also recyclable.

Whether a SiOPack® cardboard box is recycled responsibly or thrown away carelessly – nature does not suffer!