GROHE's stride into a plastic-free future
Step by step for the better – GROHE’s ongoing journey to plastic-free packaging
The ongoing plastic pollution crisis demands drastic changes while solutions are still limited
The removal of all unnecessary plastic from its packaging allows GROHE to save 37 million plastic items per year
To achieve plastic-free packaging, GROHE is calling on industry partners and customers to join in the development of new solutions
Düsseldorf, 1st June 2022 – With a tenfold increase in plastic waste pollution in the oceans since 1980 (1) and the annual flow of plastic into the ocean estimated to triple by 2040 (2), immediate action is needed to tackle the plastic pollution crisis. While plastic-free solutions are increasingly demanded by consumers and regulators alike, options are still limited which is impeding development for all industries. However, small steps can have immediate and scalable impact. This is one of the key learnings of the ongoing journey towards plastic-free packaging by GROHE, a leading global brand for bathroom solutions and kitchen fittings.
Taking small steps towards a big goal
In 2018, the brand set itself the aim of removing all plastic from its packaging as one of the three core pillars (3) of its Less Plastic Initiative. But the team involved in this task realised that this complete shift could not be implemented with the packaging options available. Factors such as the setup of current recycling mechanisms and the lack of plastic-free solutions, especially for delicate product surfaces, still pose a huge challenge not only to the GROHE brand but to all industries. Nevertheless, as an important achievement on this continuing journey, GROHE is now saving 37 million plastic items per year due to the elimination of all unnecessary plastic in its product packaging. This equals the average plastic packaging waste generated by more than 4,300 EU citizens over the course of one year. (4)
“While a complete switch to plastic-free packaging has not been possible yet, we will continue to constantly reflect, challenge and re-evaluate the status quo of our solutions,” says Jonas Brennwald, Leader LIXIL EMENA. “To drive a plastic-free future forward, we focus on taking action. A crucial part of this is encouraging innovation applicable for the mass market in the packaging sector and inviting partners to work with us together to create new opportunities.”
“Achieving plastic-reduced packaging could only be reached by a multidimensional approach, including new innovations and small modifications – quite literally thinking outside of the box. For example, our project teams in the plants used novel solutions such as moulded pulp inserts instead of expanding polystyrene or wrapping film solution. Moreover, some simple yet impactful changes were developed. A product part of the GROHE Rapid installation system is now used to stow other loose pieces. This small modification has resulted in a big impact, saving 26 tons of polybags per year. I am very proud of the creative ambition with which my colleagues have approached the issue in order to bring about change,” explains Peter Brendecke, Leader Quality and EHS Fittings, LIXIL International.
(1) The Global Risks Report 2020: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Global_Risk_Report_2020.pdf; page 46
(2) Breaking The Plastic Wave. A Comprehensive Assessment of Pathways Towards Stopping Ocean Plastic Pollution. https://www.systemiq.earth/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/BreakingThePlasticWave_MainReport.pdf
(3) The other pillars comprise the water system GROHE Blue which aims to make plastic bottles a thing of the past and the collaboration with the NGO everwave which helps to clean up waters and raise awareness for the plastic waste crisis.
(4) Based on average minimum weight of plastic packaging removed from GROHE’s bestselling product Eurosmart faucet in S-Size (33265002) in comparison to the average plastic packaging waste generated per capita in the European Union in 2019: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/databrowser/view/ENV_WASPAC__custom_2704676/default/table?lang=en
Senior Communications Manager Sustainability
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