ESE’s recyclables containers with the “Blue Angel” ecolabel

In 2016 ESE GmbH was the first manufacturer worldwide to be awarded the Blue Angel ecolabel for its recyclables containers. This acknowledged ecolabel is being awarded based on tests carried out by RAL gGmbH and on the criteria of the German Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt, UBA) and the independent “Environmental Label Jury”.

In the production of waste containers and recyclables containers bearing the ecolabel “Blue Angel – Products made out of Recycled Plastics” (RAL-UZ 30a), the share of Post-Consumer Recycling Plastic reaches at least 80%. This means that only recycled materials that are really produced out of plastic waste from private or commercial end consumers, i.e. out of products at the end of their service life, may be used.

The ecolabel Blue Angel is owned by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, while Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety and the UBA develops the relevant criteria for the awarding of the label. The origin and composition of the used recycled plastics must be verified and certified in accordance with the EuCertPlast certification, which provides independent assurance that the recycled plastics used are harmless to humans, animals and the environment.

“This effort is not solely for our customers,” explains ESE GmbH Managing Director Andreas Ziegler. “The Blue Angel is currently the only impartial way to prove that a container has indeed been produced out of recycled plastic to an extent of at least 80%. In addition, we are allowed to participate in procurement procedures under the ecolabel Blue Angel. This is crucial, for example, for municipalities that want to procure sustainably.”

ESE Behälter mit Umweltzeichen „Der Blaue Engel"
ESE containers with "Der Blaue Engel" eco-label

In 2017, the ESE Group also had the carbon footprint of its standard plastic containers assessed. The carbon footprint takes stock of the current emissions and energy savings during the production process, and, in particular, also shows ESE the areas in which further improvements could be made with regard to designing more sustainable products.

ESE’s aim was to calculate all the greenhouse gas emissions caused by its products. This is why ESE did not focus on the actual production processes alone, but on the entire life cycle, which starts with the manufacture of the raw materials. The carbon footprint of the containers reveals the individual emission shares of each stage of the life cycle. The carbon footprint therefore makes it possible to pinpoint the potential for improvement with regard to the use of certain parts or materials.

In addition, the carbon footprint makes sustainable procurement procedures more transparent because it provides well-founded data—it makes it easy to see which factors have the greatest impact on the carbon footprint of a container. Andreas Ziegler explains: “These facts and figures also encourage ESE to continue to rely on the principle of the materials circle—for the sake of excellent products and the environment.”