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The Coroplast Group launched with "CoroUpcycling" an initiative that follows the upcycling approach - a special method of recycling product waste or surplus production materials. In this way, the family-owned company from Wuppertal aims to create awareness for a more careful use of raw materials and resources. The aim of CoroUpcycling is to turn scrap materials into sophisticatedly designed, high-quality utility items. In a first development phase, a courier backpack was created in this way.
In our company, we create an innovative, sustainable mindset for avoiding waste and for conscientious handling of our waste with CoroUpcycling. We turn seemingly superfluous materials into new products and breathe new life into them. Embedded in an overarching sustainability strategy, CoroUpcycling is, not least, the Coroplast Group's way of providing important impetus for the entrepreneurship of the future.
Upcycling differs from conventional recycling. Unlike recycling, in which waste materials are processed, recycled and transformed into new raw materials, upcycling upgrades an old product or one that is no longer useful for its original purpose. Through creative misappropriation, conventional materials are replaced by unconventional resources. Material upgrading reduces the need for newly produced raw materials and thus has a sparing effect on resource requirements. The value chain of materials and substances is extended, thus avoiding waste. Often, the waste materials are even used in a different context through upcycling. The example of the Coroplast Group - how adhesive tape can be turned into a fashionable backpack - shows this very clearly.
To implement the first product idea, a working group was put together in which machine operators on the store floor and product developers as well as sales or even marketing staff worked together. A real cross-divisional movement, through which a courier backpack was created in the first development phase. For production, which the Coroplast Group realizes in cooperation with external partners, around two square meters of adhesive tape remnants are currently used per backpack. With around 200 backpacks produced, that makes 400m² of upgraded material.
Through targeted upcycling, we create real added value - we also want to communicate this transparently. That's why you can read on each backpack which type and how much of our products have been upcycled. To do this, we use a side flange as an imprint on the backpack - it creates a characteristic recognition value.
Based on the market, politics and society as a whole, the requirements for sustainable business have increased in recent years. Companies must therefore continuously improve and innovate their processes. That is why a sustainability strategy at the Coroplast Group bundles all activities, intensifies existing measures and combines them with new initiatives: With CoroUpcycling and the courier backpack, a first tangible result can be presented. Further steps are already being planned: The project team is already thinking about other products that can be produced in a more sustainable and environmentally friendly way by upgrading scrap materials - there are no limits to creativity. They are currently checking whether laptop bags and umbrellas are feasible.