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Original ideas are worth their weight in gold


At tesa Manufacturing Hamburg, the specialist in precision punched parts, employees are boosting the circular economy. An impressive 15 tons of release liners no longer need to be burned every year and are now recycled instead.

Iused to be a valve on a coffee bag,” reads the label. The joint effort for increased sustainability includes similar success stories. “I am a model for sucess" is the claim of the pilot project specifically launched for this at the Hamburg-based stamping specialist in May 2022. Tons of paper waste are produced there every year, also due to the yearly production of an impressive amount of around 300 million coffee bag valves. Now, in cooperation with a specialized company, these are being reintroduced in a new raw material cycle and are no longer being incinerated. At the processing center, they are first collected and then picked up from our partner, who separates the silicone layers as part of the “RafCycle” process before reusing the remaining pulp and paper for new labels or other paper products.

The best product solutions often emerge in everyday life.
Tino Heitmann

tesa Process Engineer

Many types of waste can be reintroduced in new cycles

“The best solutions are often found in everyday life,” says tesa process engineer Tino Heitmann from tesa Manufacturing Hamburg. There, over a billion stamped adhesive strips or dots for the most diverse applications – such as coffee bags – are produced every year. 

Production waste includes a number of materials that cannot be recycled as scrap paper or plastic waste. In particular, this concerns release liners that were used to cover processed adhesive tapes or gaps.

Nowadays, the staff at industrial companies maintain constant communication with other specialists – for example, the waste disposal company next door – as part of their day-to-day activities. A similar opportunity brought the creative tesa employees closer to the solution for more sustainable waste recycling. Now, a number of paper companies offer special recycling programs for exactly these kind of materials. Why shouldn’t tesa get on board?

“Team spirit and collaboration for the environment pay off,” say the resourceful stamp pros. Recycling release liners can even translate into a small plus in tesa’s finances, as well as “the certainty of having made a significant step towards a circular economy.” And the pragmatists have their sights set on the recycling of other waste materials too. The next recycling success story could also begin with “I used to be a”.

recycling at tesa

Find out more about tesa’s sustainability strategy

We do: Push circularity

tesa will contribute to the circular economy and use resources as carefully as possible. First and foremost, this involves avoiding waste. Where that is not possible, we reduce it. Where waste is unavoidable, we seek to reuse or recycle it by various means. By 2025, we want to eliminate all landfill disposal of production-related waste.

tesa will further invest significantly in the further development of solvent-free and energy-efficient production technology and capacity. The facilities on which we currently coat with solvents are to be technically upgraded so that the solvents are fully recovered at the end of the process and thus remain in the cycle.