Recyclable materials from packaging - How to utilize resources more efficiently

SWARCO Road Marking Systems demonstrates at numerous locations how important resources relating to packaging can be used both economically and responsibly.

From waterborne paint to preformed thermoplastic, from primer to reflective glass beads. The various components of the different road marking systems from SWARCO Road Marking Systems are many and varied. They must be packaged accordingly for transportation to customers all over the world. The packaging used is as varied as its contents, but they all have one thing in common: they are designed to be as resource efficient as possible. A tour around the SWARCO sites in the various countries reveals that there are many possibilities and ideas for achieving this.

SWARCO reflective glass beads are used directly from a kraft paper bag. In Germany, the emptied kraft paper bags can be handed in free of charge at around 350 locations and professionally recycled.

Photo: SWARCO Road Marking Systems

The effects of climate change, species extinction and resource scarcity are becoming ever more noticeable and perceptible. Solutions to these challenges can only be found globally - with many small and large steps being taken worldwide. As a global player in road markings, SWARCO Road Marking Systems is leading by example at numerous company locations through showing how resources can be used and utilized as sensibly as possible. This applies not only to production but also to the various types of packaging.

Savings in steel and plastics

The re-use of caged IBC totes (IBC = Intermediate Bulk Containers) presents a good example. These containers are used to transport and store large quantities of liquid components for various road marking systems. At the German site in Diez, these tanks are recycled in an environmentally sound manner with partner companies after use. The refurbished IBC totes can be used again instead of new containers. Components that need to be replaced are also recycled and used to manufacture new products. Jens Berg, Purchasing Manager at SWARCO's location in Diez, explains: “The container carousel system demonstrably saved 58.7 tons of steel and 34.4 tons of plastic in 2023 compared to newly produced IBCs. This corresponds to an emissions reduction of almost 116 tons of CO2 equivalent."

Not all containers used are this large. Many components of road marking systems are supplied in smaller quantities in metal pails and cans. In Germany, these pails and cans are taken back, cleaned and reused by partner companies. A return system has also been established with customers in Romania: In addition to metal barrels, IBC totes and wooden pallets can be returned as well.

Make it easy to return empty bags

An essential component of road marking systems are reflective glass beads, which ensure that the markings are easily recognizable in difficult visibility conditions. SWARCO usually supplies micro glass spheres in kraft paper bags. In Germany, these empty bags can be returned free of charge to around 350 collection points via Interzero's REPASACK system. The sacks are processed into high-quality secondary raw material that can then be used again in the paper industry.

Save space, costs and CO2

Also, in Austria, the country where SWARCO was founded 55 years ago, the company also works together with Interzero in the compression of collected packaging waste. SWARCO Road Marking Systems is already demonstrating at several of its locations how costs and CO2 emissions can be saved in this way. By using several baling presses, cardboard, film and big bags are pressed into bales at the touch of a button. The bales are then collected by a recycling company, which processes the compressed materials. This reduces unnecessary transport journeys, saves space and valuable resources.

SWARCO Road Marking Systems also endeavors to use packaging made from recycled materials wherever possible. In the UK, for example, cardboard packaging made from 70 per cent recycled material and films containing 30 per cent recycled material are used for preformed thermoplastics.

The list of different measures relating to packaging and transportation could be extended to include a number of other points, such as the recycling of one-way wooden pallets. With all these initiatives, SWARCO Road Marking Systems is once again demonstrating its trailblazing spirit in the field of sustainability.

About SWARCO Road Marking Systems

Quality products and services from SWARCO Road Marking Systems guide traffic safely from A to B by day and, above all, by night. On all types of roads. Whatever the weather. From a single source. Over 5,000 customers in more than 80 countries place their trust in them.

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