Rosenberger OSI
Switch to bio-based and biodegradable packaging

18.10.2022 Rosenberger Optical Solutions & Infrastructure (Rosenberger OSI), expert in fibre-based connectivity, cabling solutions and infrastructure services, announces that its in-house plastic packaging for patch cords will be converted to bio-based and biodegradable polymers in the coming year.

The cabling specialist Rosenberger OSI focuses on sustainability.
© Photo: Rosenberger
The cabling specialist Rosenberger OSI focuses on sustainability.

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 film 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 reflected to us 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 Dr Benjamin Weigand, innovation manager at Rosenberger OSI.

Cooperation with Fraunhofer IAP

The selection and prototyping of the new packaging was carried out in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research (IAP), Technikum Schwarzheide. In the field of novel packaging solutions, a bio-based and biodegradable plastic was identified as an alternative to the petroleum-based counterpart used so far. In terms of its appearance, stability and feel, the novel bioplastic is absolutely comparable to the packaging used up to now and can hardly be distinguished from it. Compared to solutions made of paper, the innovative plastics have two major advantages. On the one hand, the biopolymers have the added value that they protect the sensitive fibre optic connectors better against contamination and are lighter and more resistant. On the other hand, plastic packaging can be produced more efficiently. Studies show that it takes about 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 is significantly high.

No microplastics and disposal via recycling bins

Furthermore, Profectus Films GmbH was chosen as a supplier for the films, which obtains the raw 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 biodegradable film can be disposed of in the conventional recycling bin ("yellow bin").

Efficient packaging reduces packaging waste

In addition to the use of the novel packaging material made from renewable raw materials, the framework in terms of sustainability is being stretched even further. Rosenberger OSI will also focus on efficient packaging in the future. The long-term goal of this is to save material and reduce mountains of waste. Planned activities in this direction, which will be gradually implemented over the course of the coming year, are:

- Use of an innovative packaging machine that recognises different product formats and adjusts the amount of film accordingly.

- Material savings of 40% by optimising the wall thickness of the biopolymer film packaging

- Direct printing on the biopolymer packaging, which largely eliminates the need for adhesive labels

- Digital provision of measurement protocols and installation instructions of patch cables