From left to right, a close-up of a series of seedlings, each one taller than the other. On the left is a hand, from which a droplet of water drips down onto the smallest seedling

The RIGK history

Over 25 years of innovative plastics recycling

RIGK’s work began over 25 years ago, when huge landfill sites formed part of the landscape in Germany – and today continues in an age in which the concept of plastic recycling and recycling products has finally established itself in people’s minds. Find out which successes we have achieved!

1991 – Challenging the mountains of rubbish

In 1991, the Packaging Ordinance was approved: for the first time, the industry was obligated to take back packaging and to participate in recycling. In industry and commerce, the producers and processors of plastics decided to found the “Gesellschaft zur Rückführung industrieller und gewerblicher Kunststoffverpackungen mbH”( Society for the recovery of industrial and commercial plastic packaging) – or RIGK for short.

1992 – The starting signal for the RIGK-SYSTEM 

At the end of 1992, it all got started: RIGK – at the time still based in the Bad Homburg location – commenced their operative work with the RIGK-SYSTEM for packaging of non-hazardous substances. Further recovery systems followed– and, after the industry and commerce sectors, the agricultural sector also affiliated themselves with the services provided by the RIGK. 

The 90‘s – persuasive efforts and milestones

In the early years, RIGK mainly performed persuasive efforts: the license fees were relatively high at the time compared to today; the infrastructure of collection points and recycling plants was still poor, and the returned quantities of packaging were low. Yet as the technologies connected with plastic recycling developed, packaging materials became more widely available, and the acceptance for recycling grew, as well as the number of users and the collection point network – and the license prices dropped. The recovery systems also became increasingly more diverse, and soon comprised the recovery of empty used packaging and films from industry, commerce and agriculture across the whole of Germany.

2005 – Licence costs remain at the same low level

Because the RIGK does not have to orientate itself on the maximisation of profits, price reductions are always forwarded on to the customers. In this way, the license fees for some packaging could already be halved in the first ten years, and achieved a low level in 2005, which has been maintained until today. 

2006 – Membership of the European Association of Recovery Systems

RIGK is increasingly building up its international network, and becomes a member of a Pan European Association – the European Association of Plastics Recycling & Recovery Organisations (EPRO), which concerns itself with the organisation and promotion of plastics recycling.

2008 – RIGK Romania for the Eastern European market

RIGK Romania (RIGK S.R.L.) is founded and now brings RIGK know-how onto the Eastern European market.

2011 – Formation of the Product Responsibility Branch Initiative (BiPv) 

Together with three further operators of producer-supported systems for the return of packaging, RIGK forms the Brancheninitiative Produktverantwortung (Product Responsibility Branch Initiative BiPv). The members are the Gebinde-Verwertungsgesellschaft der Mineralölwirtschaft mbH (packaging recycling association of the mineral oil economy mbH GVÖ), Hamburg, the Kreislaufsystem Blechverpackungen Stahl GmbH (Circulatory system for lead and steel packaging KBS) Düsseldorf and Partslife GmbH, Neu-Isenburg. All four companies began their work shortly after the Packaging Ordinance came into force in the year 1991.

2012 – Climate protection certificates for trademark users

RIGK starts to issue climate protection certificates in accordance with the ISO standards 14040 and 14044 to participating trademark users from the fields of industry, commerce and agriculture. In this way, the companies have their individual reduction of CO2 emissions officially confirmed through ecologically-efficient recycling.

2015 –  First international recycling forum

In cooperation with EPRO, RIGK successfully organised the first International Recycling Forum in Wiesbaden . For the first time, international representatives of the branch meet together to exchange information on recycling topics.  

2016 – Pioneer work in Chile

The subsidiary RIGK Chile SpA accompanies Chile with consultancy projects on its path to being the first South American country with an effective closed loop recycling management. The focus is placed on the introduction of disposal systems.  

2017 – Anniversary year and new impulses

60 employees and a total of seven recovery systems located across Germany – since its foundation 25 years ago, RIGK has developed into a successful and innovative service provider. And, as at the beginning, new impulses arrived in the anniversary year for packaging recycling from the world of politics: from 2019, the new Packaging Law is to bring changes in the recovery and recycling of plastics. The objectives for RIGK have been set: to successfully fulfil increasing demand, to develop the good economic situation of the company, to further increase customer satisfaction and to develop the existing recovery systems and the company’s international activities! 

Growth rings in a tree, close-up

Facts & figures

Discover the most important facts and figures on companies, services and successes – clearly laid out and at a glance.

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How does recycling work?

New products and new energy – material and energetic recycling is the RIGK solution for the sustainable recycling of packaging and plastics.

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Do you have any questions?

Then simply call us, or send us an email! Your contact is happy to assist you personally with additional information, and will advise you on all recovery and recycling topics.

Claudia Hoese
Claudia HoeseCustomer Relationship Manager / Public Relations Manager