Leonhard Kurz has developed a circular process for the collection, shipment, and in-house recycling of the carrier foils from its transfer finishing products.
The recycled material can reportedly be used as an injection moulding material for high-value applications.
According to the company, while recycled plastics are usually used for simple secondary applications such as exercise mats, park benches, or flowerpots, the PET material it develops can be utilized for sophisticated injection moulding applications.
Kurz says that it has spent three years and a total investment of several million euros working on the concept. Thanks to the joint efforts of environmental and process specialists from the graphics and plastics industries at the company’s headquarters in Fürth, Germany, the breakthrough has now been achieved.
The concept provides for the collection and shipment of used Kurz transfer products from the customer, and conversion of the material into new injection moulding material at the company’s own recycling facility, which only uses power from renewable sources.
At present, the facility is recycling residual Kurz PET material from Edelmann, a packaging manufacturer with a focus on resource-efficient production. The next step will be to employ the PET recycling concept for other customers.
In the medium term, the company plans to establish recycling facilities at all of its international manufacturing locations, with the aim of ensuring a universally sustainable approach through short transport distances.
“As a global market and innovation leader in the printing sector, we view it as our duty to offer the printing and plastics industries sustainable ways to achieve excellent finishing and decoration. For many years now we have been striving to ensure that our transfer products are manufactured, processed, and disposed of in a sustainable manner.
"Thanks to our new recycling process, we have now fully closed the material cycle. This is a milestone in plastics recycling,” explains Markus Hoffmann, a member of the management board at Kurz.