Case Study with INGEDE

Can Packaging with KURZ Finishing be Recycled Easily?

Case Study Featuring INGEDE e.V. and Hygiene Paper Manufacturer Essity

“Our cardboard packaging has been refined with KURZ transfer decorations. Can it still be recycled?” Companies ask this question time and again. In order to substantiate our answer with verified data, we launched an elaborate study in 2021 with two renowned partners: INGEDE e.V. and Essity.

KURZ together with Sustainability-Conscious Partners:

Essity headquarter in Stockholm (Sweden)


Essity is a leading global player in personal care.

Portrait of Axel Fischer, Head of Public Relations INGEDE e.V.


Axel Fischer, Head of Public Relations INGEDE e.V.

The Background

Can Packaging with KURZ Finishing be Recycled?

Whether a product is recyclable depends on many factors:

  1. Is the final product technically recyclable at all?
  2. Do consumers have access to a waste collection point?
  3. Does the sorting system identify the final product as recyclable?
  4. Does the recycler accept the product to make it a high-quality recycled material?

KURZ transfer finishings perform well in tests: As early as 2017, the International Association of the Deinking Industry, INGEDE, confirmed that the tested KURZ qualities are deinkable. We also know that our surface finishing is usually easily detected by sorting machines. The prerequisite for this is, of course, that the cardboard boxes themselves meet the conditions for sustainability and recycling. The fact that many finishings from KURZ are compostable is proven by their DIN EN 13432 certification.


So far, so good. KURZ has thus demonstrably mastered three out of four stages of the recycling pyramid. But what about the fourth level, acceptance by the recycler and quality of the material created when recycling the decorated packaging?

The Goal

To determine whether we can also reach the fourth stage of the recycling pyramid, we started a large-scale waste study. We were able to work with renowned partners on this project: The INGEDE association and the hygiene paper manufacturer Essity, the company behind major brands such as Tempo and Zewa.

We wanted to get to the bottom of the following questions in the study:

  • What is the quality of the recycled material?
  • Can high-quality new products be produced from the recycled material (only cardboard boxes decorated with KURZ transfer materials)?
  • Is the recycled material perhaps even a sought-after raw material that can be resold profitably?


To find answers, we set ourselves a mammoth task: We collected and recycled 25 metric tons of paper and checked the result.

Sustainably decorated packaging box

The Solution

Essity product overview

The tests provided a clear answer to the outstanding questions regarding the 4th level of the recycling pyramid: Is the recycled material accepted by recyclers? Can it be used to create a new, high-quality product?

Yes! The mono-fractions (the misprinted sheets produced by processors) are normally deinkable and can be used as the highest-quality fiber for light new papers, tissue papers, and cardboard covers!

Dr. Markus von Beyer, Global Head of Environmental, Health, Safety & Sustainability at KURZ, proudly stresses, “Such an elaborate approach to the reusability of industrial waste is unique in the industry so far, and it’s probably not so easy to copy us.”

In practice, this means: Recycled paper companies or paper mills that have their own deinking facility can accept processors’ mono-fractions and produce a high-quality product from them. And there’s more good news: Because the recycled material is of such high quality, the processors are even paid for it by the paper companies.

In-house KURZ recycling plant with Dr. Markus von Beyer


We answered the question “Can our end product with KURZ decorations be recycled?” with a resounding “yes” overall! However, this insight doesn’t just benefit us. At KURZ, we always focus on our customers. We are all the more pleased that all companies involved in the process benefit from this case study

  • The manufacturer meets the requirements of sustainable business
  • The processor can dispose of the production waste profitably
  • The paper mills receive the highest-quality fiber. This can be used to produce light new and tissue paper and cardboard covers

When partnering with the KURZ Group, you can always feel confident that you and your product are our top priority. To this end, we provide you with complete support for all your recycling questions from a single source: From product concept to application methods and recycling of waste.

Rendering of a sustainable finishing process for packaging

Products for surface finishing

Eco-friendly finishing machine by LEONHARD KURZ

Tailor-made machine and application solutions

Recycling consulting from KURZ

Advice on Design for Recycling

Did You Know?


Did you know that you can also recycle the residual KURZ transfer finishing products? Since 2020, we have been offering you a return and recycling system for PET carriers that is unique in the world: KURZ RECOSYS® converts residual transfer carriers into high-quality injection molding material. This is another step towards sustainability.

We accompany you on your journey to a circular economy – after all, we not only supply you with proven and environmentally friendly finishings, but we also advise you in the areas of sustainability and recycling!

Recycled PET granules from our KURZ recycling plant

Let’s talk if you’re keen to:

  • Improve your recycling path
  • Harmonize your testing procedures
  • Rethink your sustainability concepts
  • Reconsider the recyclability of your application


Do you want your business to become more sustainable? Make an appointment with our experts!