– Quantity of recycled plastics to increase to 7,500 tonnes per annum by 2025

– Dryers, cleaning products and vacuum cleaner accessories to lead the way​


Hardly any other material is as easy to process and as versatile as plastic. Meanwhile, though, many are annoyed at the sheer volumes of plastic waste. In Germany alone, 227 kg of packaging are discarded per capita each year; 39% of this is plastic waste.[1] And although the Germans are often jokingly referred to as world champions in refuse separation, 51% of all plastic packaging is still not reused, landing as it does in incinerators.[2] This occurs despite the fact that plastics and in particular those used in packaging materials are ideal for recycling and reuse as so-called recyclates. How this works is demonstrated, for example, by Miele tumble dryers, care products and vacuum cleaner accessories.

For Miele as a family company driven by values, containing environmental pollution and climate change enjoys the highest of priorities – and so does the sustainability of both products and their packaging. At the same time, Miele places not only the highest of demands on its products but also on packaging – for example with respect to resilience, temperature resistance, protection against light and product safety. Cleaning products, for instance, must be able to withstand the strains of transportation and fluctuations in climatic conditions. ’Designing packaging in such a way as to not only meet these requirements but also reduce the burden on the environment is a huge challenge we must face proactively’, says Christoph Wendker, Vice President Corporate Sustainability and Regulatory Affairs with the Miele Group.

In concrete terms, this means that Miele will consistently work on implementing the principles of a circular economy and reuse materials wherever this is possible without any relevant reductions in quality levels. The objective is to increase the volume of plastic recyclates to as much as 7,500 tonnes by 2025. ’Miele is at the beginning of a long journey which is not just about using recycled and recyclable materials in packaging but also in finished goods’, Wendker continues. Where metals are concerned, the use of recyclates is already far advanced at Miele, and Miele is adopting the same approach on plastics with great conviction.

30% material savings thanks to new production processes

An impressive contribution is made by a newly developed floor module used on almost all new tumble dryer models. Thanks to an innovative production process in which nitrogen is injected into plastic, material savings of 30% are achieved – whilst at the same time improving the stability of the component. And, since 2021, recycled plastics have been in use for the first time on the lid of this module. Over the course of a year, this mounts up to savings in the order of several hundred tonnes of granulate. Furthermore, at its Bielefeld production plant, the company is increasingly manufacturing vacuum cleaner accessories such as upholstery brushes, crevice nozzles, dusting brushes and special-purpose attachments from recyclate. The option of switching to recyclates is currently being examined for other accessories, including exhaust filters. The frame of the Hygiene AirClean filter on the new Boost CX1 vacuum cleaner is made from 100% recyclate.

PowerDisk: Packaging made entirely from recyclates

Customers also have access to cleaning and care products which are not only perfectly geared to Miele appliances but also feature environmentally friendly packaging. Miele has, for example, converted the PowerDisk container for use on dishwashers to 100% recycled plastic. Similarly, the packaging of other containers for dishwashing and laundry detergents has, for the most part, already been redesigned for the use of recycled materials.

Company profile: Miele is the world’s leading manufacturer of premium domestic appliances including cooking, baking and steam-cooking appliances, refrigeration products, coffee makers, dishwashers and laundry and floor care products. Their product portfolio also includes dishwashers, air purifiers, washing machines and tumble dryers for commercial use as well as washer-disinfectors and sterilisers for use in medical and laboratory applications (Miele Professional). Founded in 1899, the company has eight production plants in Germany, one each in Austria, the Czech Republic, China, Romania and Poland as well as two production plants belonging to its Italian medical technology subsidiary Steelco. Sales in the 2020 business year amounted to around € 4.5 bn (thereof 29.5% in Germany). Miele is represented with its own sales subsidiaries and via importers in almost 100 countries/regions. Throughout the world, the family-run enterprise, now in its fourth generation, employs a workforce of around 20,900, of which approx. 11,050 employees work in Germany. The company has its headquarters in Gütersloh in Westphalia.

[1] https://www.wwf.de/themen-projekte/plastik/verpackungswende-jetzt

[2] https://www.wwf.de/themen-projekte/plastik/verpackungswende-jetzt