Chemicals have to be properly packaged. Standard container formats have become established in the industry in order to ensure safe transportation and storage. In our industry, for example, we use metal or plastic barrels, portable canisters or intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) – large plastic or steel tanks with a metal frame.
The fact is that the majority of these containers are reusable. In cooperation with our suppliers and customers, we are making every effort to establish a circular economy so that we can keep using and reusing our packaging materials.
At Brenntag, we have established suitable processes for the handling of waste and also take-back and recycling systems for various types of packaging and containers. With our expertise and logistics infrastructure, we are able to reuse IBCs without having to clean them first – provided that they are always refilled with the same chemical (“product-dedicated container”).
For example, at our Zwijndrecht site in the Netherlands, we have set up a closed cycle with several control points for IBCs that are dedicated to only contain the same acids or alkalis. The result: these IBCs can be reused over a period of several years. Not only does this significantly reduce the amount of packaging material but also decreases the amount of cleaning required, thereby lowering water consumption and the volume of wastewater.
Furthermore, we use recycled packaging: In our EMEA region, we target to reach 28,500 “RECOBULK” IBCs made by Schütz to be put in circulation each year. Since summer 2018, we have introduced approximately 8,000 units in the market. They are characterised by a lower carbon footprint because they feature a reused, reconditioned steel cage. By using the target volume, Brenntag will save over 2,400 tonnes of CO2 per year compared to standard IBCs, which are equipped with a new steel cage.