one day, we will be able
to introduce a pen that is completely compostable
At the moment, it is difficult to assess the extent to which our CEO Per Ledermann’s wish is sustainable or even feasible. The use of alternative materials is certainly possible, as the edding EcoLine range demonstrates.
Ever since the founding of our company in 1960, we have expressly committed ourselves to minimizing the effect of our products on the environment. The development of refillable markers has made a significant contribution to our efforts to uphold this commitment, enabling an empty marker to be refilled and reused up to 15 times. The nibs of many edding products can also be replaced, which significantly increases the lifetime of an edding marker and avoids waste. In addition, the solvents used in our inks have steadily become milder. The high-odour markers of the early days are now a thing of the past.
Where others see waste, we see raw materials
Even the most modern production processes generate some degree of waste. That’s why waste management is seen as an environmental protection issue at edding, forming part of the edding value chain. At edding, waste products are seen as valuable raw materials. In a closed-loop injection-moulding process any sprue, leftover plastic, is returned immediately to the production process. Reuse of other plastic residues is also optimized.
In total since 2015, 83% of the plastic parts of the permanent, whiteboard and flipchart markers in the edding EcoLine range have been made up of post-consumer material, a recyclate which is derived from waste after usage. This is plastic waste that comes from collected and returned, disused plastic components of all different types. Recyclate is produced following a multi-stage treatment process and can be used for the production of new products, including edding markers.
In total, 90% of the plastic parts of the edding EcoLine permanent, whiteboard and flipchart markers are made up of recycled material: 83% post-consumer material and 7% pre-consumer material. When it comes to plastics, packaging and inks, it goes without saying that we also separate and recycle waste, reuse as much as we can and dispose of it properly. But we don’t just think about recycling in production. Rubbish in our offices is also carefully separated and properly disposed of.
Our Research and Development team is responsible for the initial and ongoing development of edding’s products, as well as for the necessary tests which all of our products undergo prior to series production. Among other things, products are tested for durability, storage, light resistance and writing. Little by little, we are seeking to replace the conventional plastic material used in our standard products with secondary raw materials, where this is possible in products or product components. We are specifically working on replacing the primary materials used in the manufacture of refill bottles. Key sustainability issues do not just affect the plastic components of our products, but more specifically the inks, where there are particular requirements in terms of quality. The inks need to work on a wide range of surfaces, have high brilliance of colour, be permanent or wipeable and all of this with as few substances as possible, whilst being non-toxic. The solvents used are predominantly: water, approx. 41% and alcohol, approx. 36%. The remaining 23% or so of solvents are used for speciality inks and vary depending on customer requirements, or requirements concerning durability and the application surface.
For edding’s EcoLine products, we already make use of sustainable raw materials in the form of bioplastics and recycled materials. We have gained valuable experience in the use of these substances during the development of these products. This provides a sound basis for a gradual expansion in the use of alternative materials, especially post-consumer recycled materials.
At edding, it’s traditional to refill
Along with the manufacturing of our products, we specifically focus on processes that extend their operating life and allow them to be disposed of appropriately. Our top priority is refillable markers, as this enables us to significantly increase the lifespan of these products. The first approach to this is the drop dispenser, where the marker is unscrewed and the ink dropped into it. This method enables quick refilling and immediate reuse. Refilling using a capillary system is a user-friendly innovation. The nib of the marker is placed in a refill bottle and soaks up the ink until full, a simple and highly efficient system. Approximately 70% of the markers that we offer are refillable, with replacement nibs available for approximately 25%.