Mautner Markhof: 80% recyclable aluminium tubes

Exactly how recyclable are Mautner Markhof mustard and horseradish tubes? Our circular design experts set out to find the answer – and found that the aluminium tubes are roughly 80 % recyclable today. But there’s more: Proposals on how to improve this share are being implemented right now.

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There’s a Polish saying for things you can’t change because they’re in the past: Mustard after lunch. And while mustard is certainly relevant at Mautner Markhof, this saying is not.

On the contrary: Austria’s leading mustard producer aims to keep abreast of developments in the field, e.g. by conserving resources and protecting the environment – especially with regard to packaging design. You can see where this is going.

The aluminium used in mustard tubes is an extremely valuable resource that must be reclaimed and reused. One of the first companies in Austria to use our Circular Design services, Mautner Markhof had us evaluate the recyclability of three of their aluminium tubes.

Even today’s tubes are 80 % recyclable

Resource conservation, sustainability and respect for the environment are mainstays of Mautner Markhof’s company philosophy. The company’s commitment has won them several awards: The city of Vienna awarded them the title OekoBusinessPlan company no fewer than nine times. A photovoltaic system built in 2018 generates up to 20 % of Mautner Markhof’s electricity needs. Over the past nine years, the company has been able to reduce waste water by about 15,000 m³. Last but not least, the long-standing partnership with ARA ensures high environmental and climate performance. Our cooperation and the proper management of waste is saving around 2,000 tonnes in carbon emissions a year. This sounds like a lot – because it is. It corresponds to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of more than 17 million car kilometres.

Deepening our cooperation on circular design was the logical next step. The company’s mustard and horseradish aluminium tube packaging was thoroughly examined by our experts to evaluate how well it can be recycled and kept in the loop.

The analysis had the following focus:

  • Ease of detection: Is the packaging easily identified in automated sorting processes, so it can be sent for recycling properly?
  • Ease of classification: What type of material is the packaging made of and how can it be reused?
  • Ease of recycling: How recyclable is the packaging?
  • Ease of optimisation: How can the packaging be improved further to conserve resources?

The result (80 % recyclability on average) was already very good.
Now our experts are working with Mautner Markhof to translate the findings of the study into concrete measures at the production and waste collection stages. Our goal is to get this rate to as close to 100 % as possible.

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“A thorough analysis of our mustard tubes by ARA’s circular design experts was a logical next step for us. We are highly satisfied with the results and with our cooperation. We were able to gain new insights, and now we are weighing the options in front of us to decide on implementation.”

Jürgen Brettschneider

Managing Director, Mautner Markhof

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Project lead: Manuela Fritz