Precycling as a means of resource efficiency

Systemic solutions for
packaging prevention

What is Precycling?

By precycling we mean systemic innovations along the entire value chain – including design, usage, re-use and disposal.

The aim is to both minimize the emergence of packaging waste, the associated environmental impact and the total resource consumption.

Systemic solutions for packaging waste prevention

No other country in Europe produces more packaging waste than Germany. In 2016 it reached a peak of 18,2 million tons. Plastic packaging by itself doubled in comparison to 1995. The cooperation project of the Technische Universität Berlin and the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy gGmbh is striving to change the status quo: The junior research group PuR investigates why so much packaging waste is produced and seeks to design strategies to prevent packaging waste itself. “PuR” stands for “Precycling as a means of resource efficiency: Systemic Solutions for packaging waste prevention”.

The huge increase in packaging is primarily due to the fact that packaging has to fulfill several functions at the same time and demands on them continue to rise. Thus, packaging no longer serves only as the protection of the goods, but also for better dosage, storage or handling. This requires packaging to be seen as a complex system in which the interests of manufacturers, logisticians, distributors, consumers and waste collectors are “packaged” and which lead to the current packaging-intensive production and consumption patterns.

The junior research group PuR carefully examines the entire value chain – starting from product idea to production itself and disposal – to identify starting points for the prevention of packaging waste (precycling). Contrary to recycling, precycling does not produce packaging waste at all.

Thereby, resources are saved and the environmental impact is improved.

The interdisciplinary team, lead by Dr. Elisabeth Süßbauer of the Technische Universität Berlin and Dr. Henning Wilts of the Wuppertal Institute, designs holistic precycling innovations for the food and drug sectors.

PuR is a cooperation of the Technische Universität Berlin and the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy. Participating institutions include the Center for Technology and Society, the chair of Sustainable Engineering and the chair of Circular Economy and Recycling Technology.

Why is packaging prevention important? Click here for more information on the project’s background.

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Rabea-Lorina Dehning, Research Assistant
Zentrum Technik und Gesellschaft, TU Berlin

Hardenbergstr. 16-18, 10623 Berlin