A stand-up pouch developed by the cleaning products manufacturer Werner & Mertz in cooperation with Mondi has become the first flexible pack in the world to achieve Gold in all categories of the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Scorecard.  

Both companies involved stakeholders along the value chain from the start and sought advice from EPEA Switzerland. The organization, which is an accredited assessment body for Cradle to Cradle Certified, developed an 18-point Cradle to Cradle Projects Reference Model for the fulfillment of the Cradle-to-Cradle Principle, which the two companies apparently followed step by step.

In the beginning, the purpose of the product had to be defined clearly. In the case of the pouch, the idea was to create high-quality, truly recyclable plastic packaging.

It quickly became clear that the pouch had to be made of a single material. Reducing the material to a single type of plastic, namely, polyethylene, was just one issue. 

Consideration had to be given to the collection and sorting process of the materials too. High-quality recycling is feasible only if the used packaging actually lands in the Yellow Bag and the sorting system recognizes it. 

In the ensuing years, the manufacturers of sorting systems and units were consulted about the development of separate sorting and reprocessing facilities. At the same time Werner & Mertz sought to inform consumers about waste separation and recycling and make them aware of the Yellow Bag's importance in the recycling process (Development Marketing Statement).

Production and the supply chain were also involved. The developers realized early on in the process that both Mondi and Werner & Mertz would need to acquire new machines or refit old ones for the new pouch. Financial resources and time were demanded.  

Still another criterion is the ABC-X Categorisation of the Ingredients. For this point alone, for example, a completely new recyclable printing ink system for flexographic printing was developed, which has since received the Material Health Certificate in Gold. This certification reportedly confirms the safety of the solvent-based ink for biological cycles.

Criteria specification was followed by Product Design and Implementation of previously chosen processes, including Investments. The Cradle-to-Cradle Process is not completed with the successful retail launch of the product.

After-sales service has to be provided so that consumers have a chance to ask questions about the product – something that Werner & Mertz’s consumer advice team was responsible for.