After the match comes recycling

Feb 05, 2019



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Saskia Flasche

Many of the spectators who come to watch TSG Hoffenheim’s Bundesliga home games in the PreZero Arena drink mineral water from Lidl’s Saskia brand water bottles. What they are often not aware of is that by doing so they are also contributing to environmental protection. This is because the bottles are made primarily from recycled materials and are themselves recycled. The recyclable bottle system is the only one of its kind in Germany.

When 30,000 spectators come to watch one of TSG Hoffenheim’s Bundesliga home games, the waste mounts up: once the last spectator has left the arena, the helpers gather around four tonnes of waste. But not all of the waste is residual waste – much of it can be recycled. TSG Hoffenheim and GreenCycle have resolved to significantly increase the proportion of stadium waste that gets recycled. There are already many ideas on how this could work.

For example, what happens to the empty disposable water bottles? It’s simple: new bottles are produced from the PET material. The “Saskia” bottle from Lidl, which is distributed in parts of the arena, already has an average recycled content of more than 50%. This is made possible by a carefully devised system that GreenCycle, as the central waste disposal service provider of the Schwarz Group, has developed and perfected over many years with the Group’s own MEG (“Mitteldeutsche Erfrischungsgetränke”) production plants.

In the stadium: collecting

In the stadium, the empty bottles are collected by a large team of helpers and then transported by truck to a recycling plant.

Recycling plant: sorting, separating, shredding, washing

In the recycling plant, the used bottles are sorted first of all by colour in the colour sorter, and the lids and labels removed. In the next stage, the bottles are ground, washed, dried and processed into food-grade regranulate.

Plastics processing: mixing, melting, moulding

In plastics processing, blanks (or ‘preforms’) for new bottles are produced from the regranulate. The regranulate is mixed with new granulate, then heated further and fused. The preforms for the new bottles are produced from the hot granulate mass in the injection moulding machine.

Filling plant: heating, inflating, cleaning, filling, labelling

The preforms are heated and inflated into finished bottles in the filling plant. After subsequent cleaning, they are filled, labelled and packed in six-packs for onward transport. Transportation back to the stadium completes the life cycle of the PET bottle.