A victory for the environment
by Barbara Vieths |
RITTEC Umwelttechnik wins Next Economy Award as part of 13th German Sustainability Awards
Empty juice bottles, cheese packs, takeaway boxes: Where many people see dirty city centres and oceans, the RITTEC Umwelttechnik environmental tech team sees great opportunities for recovering raw materials. Their solution for the circular economy won the Next Economy Award (NEA), presented on December 4th at the 13th German Sustainability Awards conference.
The company impressed the expert jury and conference attendees with its solution for producing PET plastic from plastic waste rather than fossil crude oil. The innovative process offers the possibility to create a closed resource loop, thereby cutting carbon emissions by 60%.
A large number of PET packaging cannot currently be recycled. Coloured or multilayer packaging is mainly incinerated, meaning the valuable resources it contains are irretrievably lost. This is the issue that RITTEC is tackling with its new technology. “We are delighted to have received the Next Economy Award. We know that we are on the right track,” comments a confident RITTEC founder Carsten Eichert. "We also see that reflected in our regular dialogue with industry representatives.” The next step is to build a complete mini-plant to pilot the findings achieved to date in practice.
Background to the Next Economy Award
The Stiftung Deutscher Nachhaltigkeitspreis e.V. (German Sustainability Award Foundation), in cooperation with the German Council for Sustainable Development and the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce, is presenting the Next Economy Award for the sixth time. By awarding the NEA to RITTEC Umwelttechnik, the jury recognised, among other attributes, how the company had opened up new options for value creation: Within established disposal and recycling structures, as in Europe, as well as in countries with high proportions of informal disposal structures.
RITTEC Umwelttechnik develops technological solutions to add value in resource conservation. RITTEC Umwelttechnik is motivated by the awareness that the success of the circular economy is not solely determined by the quantity, but especially by the qualitative performance of treatment and recycling processes. RITTEC’s aim is to develop technologies for a circular economy that avoid downcycling of secondary raw materials and create products of virgin quality.
revolPET® recycling technology turns PET waste back into high-grade products of original quality, regardless of the input material. revolPET® meets the challenge of achieving depolymerisation within a continuous process with no loss of value or performance. The vision is that revolPET® technology will help solve the global challenges around PET packaging. The development of revolPET® was funded as part of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) “Plastics in the Environment” research project. Partners in the project alongside RITTEC Umwelttechnik GmbH are the Institute of Chemical and Thermal Process Engineering (ICTV) and the Institute of Machine Tools and Production Technology (IWF) at the Technical University of Braunschweig, Fraunhofer ICT, Reclay Systems GmbH, SCHILLER Apparatebau GmbH and VTU Engineering Deutschland GmbH.