06. Oct 2022
Rosenberger Optical Solutions & Infrastructure (Augsburg, Germany), an expert in fibre optic connections, cabling solutions, and infrastructure services, announces that its in-house plastic packaging for patch cords will be switched to biobased and biodegradable polymers in the coming year.
The origin of this was an innovation project in which the company addressed the issue of sustainable and ecologically sound packaging. The aim of this initiative was to replace the plastic films currently in use with an environmentally friendly and resource-saving alternative.
“The introduction of biopolymer packaging on an industrial scale represents added value not only for us as a company. The importance of environmentally friendly solutions is also reported back by our customers. In view of the current discussion on sustainability, especially in the data centre sector, we are pleased to be able to make a contribution”, says Benjamin Weigand, Innovation Manager at Rosenberger OSI.
Cooperation with Fraunhofer IAP
The new packaging was selected and prototyped in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research (IAP – Potsdam, Germany), technical centre Schwarzheide. In the field of novel packaging solutions, a biobased and biodegradable plastic was identified as an alternative to the petroleum-based counterpart previously used. In terms of its appearance, stability, and feel, the novel bioplastic is absolutely comparable to the packaging used to date and is virtually indistinguishable. Compared to solutions made of paper, the innovative plastics have two major advantages. On the one hand, the biopolymers have the added value of better protecting the sensitive fibre optic connectors from contamination and of being more lightweight and resistant. On the other hand, plastic packaging can be produced more efficiently. Studies show, that it takes around four times more energy to produce an equivalent paper bag. When selecting the material, great importance was attached to ensuring that the proportion of renewable raw materials was significantly high .
No microplastics and disposal via recycling bins
Furthermore, Profectus Films GmbH (Horn-Bad Meinberg, Germany) was selected as a supplier for the purchase of the packaging foils, which obtains the basic materials from certified, sustainable sources in Central Europe. The packaging used by Rosenberger OSI in the future is biodegradable according to the European standard EN 13432 and excludes the formation of microplastics. The disposal of the biodegradable film can be carried out conventionally via the recycling garbage can ("yellow garbage can").
Efficient packaging reduces waste
In addition to the use of the novel packaging material made from renewable raw materials, the range in terms of sustainability is being expanded even further. Rosenberger OSI will also focus on efficient packaging in the future with the long-term goal of saving material and reducing garbage heaps. Planned activities, which are to be implemented gradually over the course of the coming year, include:
• Use of an innovative packaging machine that recognizes different product formats and adjusts the amount of foil accordingly
• Material savings of 40 % by optimizing the thickness of the biopolymer foil packaging
• Direct printing on the biopolymer packaging, which largely eliminates the need for adhesive labels
• Digital provision of measurement protocols and installation instructions for patch cables