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19 November 2019

The REWE Group introduces 100 percent recycled plastic bottles for shower gel and soap

Committed to reducing plastic waste


Customers shopping at the roughly 5,800 REWE and PENNY stores throughout Germany will find that several varieties of shower gel, shower cream, liquid soap, and cream soap in the REWE Group’s private label “today” line are now being packaged using 100 percent recycled materials. The “Gelber Sack” (yellow sack), the bag into which Germans sort their recyclable plastic and metal waste, is the source for 20 percent of the material in this new packaging. Using plastic from the Gelber Sack allows it to remain in a closed loop which saves natural resources and protects the environment. Next to recycled paper, recycled plastic is one of the most important recycled materials in the REWE Group’s packaging strategy. At REWE and PENNY, using recycled plastic materials just for private-label and service packaging could effectively cut the use of around 6,400 tonnes of primary plastics each year.

Varieties of shower gel, shower cream, liquid soap, and cream soap of the REWE Group’s private label “today” line.

As a founding member of the Recyclat Initiative, the REWE Group and its partners from various industries are campaigning for effective recycling and advocating for value chains which align with the principle of the circular economy. The shared aim is to develop a sustainable materials cycle and to increase the use of the recyclable materials sourced from the Gelber Sack. Since 2017, REWE and PENNY have been steadily making the switch to 100 percent recycled packaging for washing and cleaning products. Recyclable material collected in the Gelber Sack provides 20 percent of the materials used to create packaging for these products. The REWE Group is committed to continuing its effort to reduce the ecological effects of its packaging and to support the circular economy of the materials used.

Expediting a closed loop is also fundamental to the REWE Group’s efforts in the area of single-use PET. For quite some time, the bottles for many private-label drinks have been produced using a considerable amount of recycled PET which is known as rPET. With the introduction of water bottles made from 100 percent recycled plastic at the start of the year, REWE and PENNY became the first food retailers to do so for private-label drinks. The REWE Group is already successfully reducing packaging that uses primary plastics by opting for recycled plastics and rPET material for insulated carrier bags, convenience food packaging (REWE), gourmet food packaging (PENNY), rubbish bags (REWE), and tins of paint (toom Baumarkt DIY store).

The REWE Group packaging strategy: avoid, reduce, improve

The REWE Group has developed a comprehensive strategy for designing more environmentally friendly packaging. The company aims to avoid excessive packaging, and if that is not possible, to reduce essential packaging or redesign it to use more environmentally friendly materials. By the end of 2025, recyclable materials should be used for all essential plastic packaging of REWE and PENNY private-label products, thereby reducing the ecological effects and supporting the circular economy of the materials used. In addition, REWE and PENNY are striving for a 20 percent overall reduction in their use of plastic for private-label packaging by the end of 2025. Paper packaging will be sourced solely from certified raw materials by the end of 2020. Last year, the REWE Group had already committed to making private-label retail and service packaging at REWE, PENNY, and toom Baumarkt DIY stores more environmentally friendly by the end of 2030. So far, the packaging for over 2,000 products has already been modified. Changes that have been already implemented at REWE and PENNY are saving the REWE Group around 8,900 tonnes of plastic per year.

The cooperatively organised REWE Group is one of the leading trade and tourism groups in Germany and Europe. In 2018, the company generated a total external turnover of around 61 billion euros. Founded in 1927, the REWE Group has more than 360,000 employees in 22 European countries.

Sales lines include REWE, REWE CENTER, BILLA, MERKUR and ADEG supermarkets and consumer stores, the discounter PENNY, BIPA health and beauty store and the toom Baumarkt DIY stores. There are also convenience stores (REWE To Go) and e-commerce activities (the REWE delivery service, Zooroyal online pet food shop, Weinfreunde wine shop and Kölner Weinkeller wine merchant). Travel and tourism under the umbrella of DER Touristik Group includes the tour operators ITS, Jahn Reisen, Dertour, Meier’s Weltreisen, ADAC Reisen, Kuoni, Helvetic Tours, Apollo and Exim Tours, and more than 2,400 travel agencies (including DER Reisebüro, DERPART and partners), the hotel chains ITI Hotels, Club Calimera, COOEE, PrimaSol and Playitas Resort, and the direct tour operator,