Zamak, an alloy composed of 95% zinc, 4% aluminium, and 1% copper, is a material that is still hardly used in the perfume industry - it is mainly part of decoration accessories and caps. The industries that use it more often include the building, furniture, automotive, electricity, and electronics industries.
This highly-resistant alloy is 100% infinitely reusable in its end-of-life, without losing any properties during the recycling process. Indeed, controlled recycling preserves chemical, physical and mechanical properties, however many remelting operations are needed. As a result, it is a first-rate material for brands willing to make their packaging more responsible.
“Customers know very little about this alloy. They think it is recyclable, but not recycled,” explains Thomas Diezinger, President of TNT Global Manufacturing France. “We studied how it could actually be recycled, and we aim to provide the whole value chain with a comprehensive solution.”
Therefore, the manufacturer contacted one of the main European zinc alloy leaders: the REAZN Group. A huge part of the zinc alloy volume produced on the group’s Belgian production site is derived from recycled secondary zinc units from industrial by-products.
The metal part derived from post-consumer recycling is still low, since collection and sorting chains do not work very well yet. “For our industry to meet recycling companies’ demand for PCR, we offer to use what already exists, i.e. the network that retrieves empty packs set up by a major French perfume and cosmetics retail brand in partnership with waste management company CEDRE. The company retrieves 15 tonnes of empty cosmetic products per week,” explains Thomas Diezinger. This incentive consists in inviting consumers to bring back their own empty perfume bottles to stores and get a 20% discount on the next perfume purchased.
“The main material retrieved and recycled is glass; the other components undergo thermal recycling by incineration. So, we offered CEDRE to retrieve Zamak and resell it to REAZN,” says TNT’s Director. Operators organize the manual sorting of Zamak parts that can be valorized, depending on their quality, and then resold to the foundry owner who needs them.
To promote and authenticate this initiative aimed to set up a recyclability chain, TNT Manufacturing created a logo which might pave the way for a future label guaranteeing the material’s traceability.
“I strongly encourage brands to use Zamak, because it is perfectly adapted to the circular economy concept,” adds Thomas Diezinger.