Cradle-to-Cradle Certified® – Innovative packaging by Voegeli AG

The Voegeli AG in Langnau, Emmental, is a printing company that is specialised in sustainable production and products. Their printed packaging solution PurePrint Peak is designed to be recyclable and compostable. Based on the single components of this solution, Voegeli can offer a range of sustainable offset printed products. Their design has received the Cradle-to-Cradle GOLD® certification by the EPEA Switzerland and Mr Voegeli tells ALFAPURA® more about sustainable printing, the concept of Cradle-to-Cradle and their company.

IMG_0703.jpg

Mr Voegeli, the Voegeli AG is the world’s first print shop to meet the strict requirements for the Cradle-to-Cradle GOLD® certification. What motivated you to go down this path?

The Voegeli AG is a family business in the 4th generation. But for us, the word "family" does not only include the family of the owners. Rather, we see the company as responsible for all employees and customers as well as their families. All our strategic decisions are reviewed to ensure that we can create the best solution possible for everyone involved. Due to this wholesome perspective, we saw the need for sustainability to ensure our children and grandchildren can live on this beautiful planet too.

After a lot of innovation and improvement concerning the sustainability of our products, it became very difficult to optimize our results even further. Especially in areas such as energy efficiency and recyclable products there was hardly any room for improvement left. That was when we decided to take a step back and look at the value chain on the whole – from the origin of the raw materials up until our final products. We realized that the only way to achieve a sustainable society is via a circular economy. And for more than five years now, we have been working on the development of recyclable packaging according to the high Cradle-to-Cradle® standard.

By now, we have found our recipe and can cover almost every packaging request.

What exactly does Cradle-to-Cradle® certification mean? And what criteria did your print shop have to fulfil to obtain this certification?

The expression “Cradle-to-Cradle” stands for the concept of an endless cycle, where every material returns to its roots again. On the one hand, products certified according to Cradle-to-Cradle® must be recyclable and compostable. In our case, all paper fibres used in the packaging can be reused again for new packaging materials. On the other hand, the product – or at least some of its leftovers – can be disposed of in a safe way. For example, the wastewater after washing the paper fibres does not contain any toxics at all and can be released into the environment. That is why our products must be safe for biological cycles.

For the GOLD standard, no substances may be used that are harmful to humans, animals, or nature in any way. These are substances that are carcinogenic, mutagenic, or toxic to reproduction, but also all other substances of concern. Developing products that fulfil all these requirements was a big challenge, especially because every single raw material must be checked. But by now, we have found our recipe and can cover almost every packaging request. This also includes fancy communication materials such as printed gift boxes. But our main products are cards, business cards, leaflets, brochures, reports, books, hangtags, and packaging.

Learn more about the Cradle-to-Cradle-Approach!

Circular economy, sustainability, and eco-friendliness have become central issues in the production industry as well as in politics and among consumers. Find out more about what cradle-to-cradle stands for and how it helps to achieve greater sustainability in manufacturing.

Learn more!
Learn more about the Cradle-to-Cradle-Approach!

ALFAPURA® adhesives have been developed to make end products, such as your packaging, recyclable. How did you come to work with ALFAPURA®?

The Voegeli AG drives the development of materials for Cradle-to-Cradle Certified® print products through the Print The Change Cooperative. We are three cooperative members from three different countries, and we were looking for adhesives for a specific application. The company ALFA Klebstoffe AG was willing to optimize their adhesive for us so that it would achieve the Cradle-to-Cradle® Certification. At first, this adhesive was exclusive to the Print The Change Cooperative and had two disadvantages: It was difficult to process and the certification only achieved SILVER status.

When ALFA Klebstoffe AG launched the ALFAPURA® adhesive line, we immediately tested the new Cradle-to-Cradle® GOLD certified products. During these tests, we were happy to learn that they met all our needs. Since then, we have been using ALFAPURA® in our production. The adhesive force, the application, as well as the quality of the adhesives are very convincing.

Sustainability, in general, is playing an increasingly important role, especially in the packaging industry. What challenges do you see with recyclable packaging?

The main problem is that there are few truly recyclable materials. Today's recycling is always downcycling. This means that the quality of the material after recycling is no longer the same as before: The recycled material always loses value and can only be used in a limited way, which is not the idea of circularity at all. Another challenge is the design of the packaging. Today, a lot of packaging is made of composite materials, so a mix of different raw materials. These can then no longer be separated, or only with great difficulty, and can therefore not be fully recycled. This brings us back to the first problem.

Markus Vögeli.jpg

Do you offer packaging for food? How safe is your recyclable food packaging?

Yes, we offer quite a variety. For example, we produce packaging for pasta, chocolate, sports food, and cheese labels for several customers. More options are currently in development. Customers approach us almost weekly with new requirements and we are happy to develop new innovative solutions. Because no harmful substances that could get from the packaging into the food, are used in our products, they are all safe for food usage. Just recently SQTS (Swiss Quality Testing Services) tested our packaging, and they were able to confirm the safety.

What effect does recyclable packaging have on profitability?

The answer is dependent on how we define economic efficiency. Is it only about economics or is it also about social and ecological aspects? For us, all three areas are equally important. From a purely economic point of view, we have invested a lot of resources in the last five years. Now, we are earning money with our products, and in the future, we would probably no longer be able to exist without them.

Do you want to produce Cradle-to-Cradle® Certified products too? Do you need a sustainable adhesive? Please contact us for a meeting to learn more about sustainable adhesive solutions!

Secure your personal appointment today

Do you need support or advice? We love to share our know-how. Schedule your appointment now!

You must provide your first name.
You must provide your last name.
You must provide a valid email address.
You must agree before submitting.

Your appointment request has been sent successfully. Please check your inbox.