Symrise is reducing plastic

Economic success and sus­tainability: Symrise is a company with dynamic growth. The demand for products and services is con­stantly increasing. At the same time, the use of plastic packaging should and must be significantly reduced at the sites and in production.

How can the company grow globally and continuously while meeting both reg­ulatory and self-imposed criteria for protecting climate, resources and people? This is only possible if all em­ployees in the company are involved. “We will not achieve our ambitious sustainability objectives without further com­mit­ment and innovative measures to protect the climate and reduce waste,” says Dr. Heinz-Jürgen Bertram, CEO of Symrise. “We have already made re­mark­able progress while complying with all regulations for plastic packaging and disposable plastic items,” Dr. Bertram continues, “But we must continue to do everything we can to re­duce our carbon footprint, avoid waste and find other recycling options.”

Further measures include consistently increasing the pro­por­tion of sustainable packaging materials throughout the com­pany. The conversion should be complete by 2025. By then there will only be pack­aging materials that are envi­ron­men­tally friend­ly. Over 95 percent of recyclable plastics should also be reused by then, if local capacities are available. The Flavor supply chain is already doing pioneering work in moving away from disposable materials. “We will replace all disposable plastics with sustainable ma­terials by the end of the first quarter of 2021 in Germany and in all our companies by the middle of next year,” declares Erik-Christof Wenzlaff, Program Management Office, SC Flavor. Bernhard Kott, Chief Sustain­ability Officer, adds, “We also make every effort to ensure that dis­posable plastic items are no longer used for advertising purposes.”


In 2020, the cardboard packaging of products in Holzminden will have caused carbon footprint of 900 tons per year. Two packaging manufacturers are each responsible for half of this.

From the end of Q1 2021 onwards, all disposable packaging used in Holzminden will be produced in a climate-neutral manner. This saves a total of 12,000 tons of CO2. This is divided as follows:


Cardboard packaging


Plastic packaging, e.g., canisters


Steel packaging, e.g., drums


Aluminum cans and bottles

Symrise is also paying € 44,000 to support two reforestation projects in Brazil initiated by the environmental service provider First Climate.

The plan is ambitious because currently about one-third of all packaging materials are still made of plastic. This is why it is so important to make all employees aware of this topic. Bernhard makes it clear that all locations and companies must work on improving the packaging situation and fully utilize recycling options. Of course, this must not affect the quality and safety of the products or the environment. The goal is to replace disposable plastic items such as straws, plates, cutlery, stirrers, food containers and polystyrene bev­erage containers with environ­men­tally friendly alternatives in all divisions. The factory cafeterias in Holzminden are well on the way to achieving this. To protect against infection, the meals may only be handed out to take away. Initially, polystyrene containers were used for this. Since September, however, vis­itors have been able to pick up their food in reusable trays. The sealable trays are 100-percent free of plasticizers. By mid-November, about 2,500 disposable packages had been saved in this way. Borrowing is easy via an app. The colleagues from the sensory quality control department at Flavor in Holz­minden are also making a consistent switch. They need 1,800 cups per day for tastings. So far they have been using plastic containers for this purpose. Now they have changed com­pletely to paper cups made of recycled material (see article: Paper not plastic). ­ These are just two examples. A cross-divisional and multi­func­tional team will ensure that others follow and that the ambitious goals are achieved. This team consists of employees in technical pur­chas­ing, packaging engineers and man­agers from the oper­ational division as well as employees in research and devel­opment.

They define the scope, roadmap, mile­stones and sched­ule of the project. This team will also develop pilot projects that will be im­plemented first regionally and then at all other sites. Another important aspect of imple­ment­ing the sustainability agenda is partner­ships and cooperation. “Alongside our site neighbors and other social initiatives, we are participating in local environmental projects,” says Bernhard. The Symrise Sustainability Board will keep a close eye on the ambitious projects and monitor their success.

Bernhard Kott has headed the Sustainability Board since 2020. He is counting on the cooperation of all Symrise employees in the zero-plastic strategy.

You can find all UN Sustainabil­ity Objectives in the SymPortal:

You can read the Symrise Plastics Policy here:

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