My rain barrel used to be a shampoo bottle

If your old shampoo bottle has been used for the last time, the yellow bag is by no means the end of the line. Our Raw Materials Competence Center gives them a second life - and that is doubly sustainable.

Over 1,000 shampoo bottles in there? Standing in front of the rain barrel in the garden, I honestly have to take a very close look. The barrel-shaped rain barrel, model Barrica, is 105 centimeters high, holds 420 liters and weighs 16 kilograms. If we assume that a standard shampoo bottle weighs 15 grams (on average, as there are many different shapes), then there are 1,067 empty plastic bottles in there that used to contain shampoo. Look closely - I'm holding 20 of them in my arms here. So you have to take a long shower for a ton like that. We do the rest at our Raw Materials Competence Center in Herbolzheim ...

All post-consumer waste ends up at the Herbolzheim site, which we later turn into rainwater tanks at our other sites in the surrounding area from so-called recyclates. Internally, we also refer to this as the GRAF cycle. In our concept, it plays an important role that the recyclates in the cycle get from point A to point B in the shortest possible way - keyword CO2 balance. In the case of the Barrica rain barrel, made from recyclates from Herbolzheim in southern Baden and produced in Teningen, also in southern Baden, this is just 15 kilometers.

Pioneering role in recycling

With its ultra-modern plant in Herbolzheim, GRAF plays a pioneering role on the market. 70 percent of all raw materials used in our production are recyclates - processed in our Raw Materials Competence Center. The target for 2023 is 80% recycled material. The process already saves 100,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year compared to the use of new raw materials - this corresponds to the emissions of around 60,000 cars in the same period. "The fact that over 50% of our packaging waste currently ends up in incineration plants and less than 10% is recycled worldwide is something we simply cannot afford in the long term," says Managing Director Otto P. Graf. In the future, raw material centers like ours will probably increasingly save plastics from thermal recycling (waste incineration). Another plus point for our climate.

Rainwater - an elixir of life for the environment

The use of rainwater is at least as important for the environment. Plants in the garden prefer rainwater to water from the tap. However, other arguments are much more important. For example, the groundwater level. Because if we collect the water that falls from the sky and use it in the garden instead of letting it run into the sewage system via sealed surfaces, we return it to the natural water cycle and thus to the groundwater. At the same time, we use less drinking water and create our own water reservoir directly in the garden - and naturally reduce the water bill. Not bad if, like us at GRAF, you combine both arguments and manufacture rainwater harvesting products from recycled materials. A Barrica rainwater barrel costs less than 200 euros in the shops. Not much when you consider what's inside, such as the 1067 shampoo bottles mentioned above. "Even with just a small rain barrel in the garden, I am making a contribution to the sustainable use of water and against falling groundwater levels," says Andreas Steigert, GRAF press spokesperson, “Every barrel counts!”

By the way, 1067 shampoo bottles would have been 54 times the editor's arms completely packed with shampoo bottles. Well, that would make a few pictures! Just don't blur them until the photographer says stop ... Incidentally, you can choose your preferred rain barrel from over 90 shapes, colors and sizes to suit your personal taste.

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