BRITA Group, German manufacturer of water filtersuses ISCC PLUS certified biobased*plastics in its innovative products for drinking water optimisationThe ISCC certification is one of the steps taken to improve the company’s environmental credentials and support the transition to a bioeconomy

Plastics are a key component of a wide range of products, BRITA’s portfolio is no exception. Its features, such as flexibility, being lightweight and durable make it the ideal material for the mandatory quality, safety and hygiene requirements of water filters. Nevertheless, an increased use of primary resources for the manufacture of plastics is not conducive to environmental protection and greater circularity. This is particularly true at a time when non-conventional materials such as recycled sources or bio-based* raw materials are becoming increasingly prominent to address resource scarcity and reduce the environmental impact of primary material extraction.

ISCC, a leading certification system for sustainable supply chains and raw materials, promotes the transition to a circular economy and bioeconomy through a variety of certifications. ISCC PLUS certifies raw materials and products derived from these. The derived products can be produced from agricultural crops, waste (recycled and biogenic) as well as renewable sources.

Gradual increase of certified material use

As a top company in its sector, BRITA seeks to lead by example and replace virgin plastic with ISCC certified bio-based* materials that meet stringent traceability criteria. Plastics can have a significant impact on our planet if they are not sourced, produced, consumed and disposed of in a responsible way. Meike Rapp, Director Sustainability at BRITA Group, explains: “With plastics being an integral and currently indispensable part of our products, we know we can make a difference. By 2025, we aim to reduce the use of virgin plastics in our signature portfolio by 30% and increasingly replace fossil-based plastic with bio-based*materials. In the last two years only, we have reduced the use of virgin plastic by 6,4% and aim for more. The transition to a more sustainable operation is an important factor for us, our suppliers and our clients. As part of our commitment, we decided to source ISCC certified materials.”

Today, BRITA uses ISCC certified bio-based* plastics for the production of multiple products.A certain amount of certified bio-based feedstock has been attributed to the lid and barrel of its signature water filter cartridge, the funnels, lids and jugs of its latest filter jugs. For instance, 60% of the materials incorporated in the funnel, lid and filling lid of its Style eco water filter jug can be linked to the certified bio-based* plastics through mass balance.

In plastic manufacturing processes, materials with different characteristics are mixed. In the given case, certified bio-based resources are blended with primary materials. Once mixed, it is unfeasible to physically segregate them. This is where mass balance comes in. As a chain-of-custody model, it tracks the amount of certified materials as they move through the value chain via bookkeeping.

Collaborating for impact

When applying resource-friendly materials, certain criteria must be met. ISCC provides the respective framework to enable production with fully traceable supply chains from the origin to the final product. Its certification systems cover, among others, products that are derived from biomass, waste and residues of biological origin or from recycling processes and renewable energy sources.

Jasmin Brinkmann, Senior System Manager Logos, Licensing and Claims at ISCC states:”We are very pleased to see that BRITA sources ISCC certified materials and provides a great example to support the bioeconomy.  As all players along the supply chain must be certified, ISCC PLUS certification ensures transparency at all stages and contributes to replacing fossil resources with alternative materials stemming from waste or renewable sources. This is what is needed for the shift to a bioeconomy.”

The bio-based* plastic sourced by BRITA originates from biogenic waste and does therefore not compete with food production. For instance, some products may be linked to bio-based*plastic made from forestry by-products while others may be linked to refined vegetable oil that is no longer suitable for consumption. When using the mass balance method, the exact proportion of physically embedded bio-based* and virgin materials in the final article cannot be determined. However, it can be allocated via verifiable bookkeeping. In total, BRITA cuts down the use of primary plastic in products containing certified bio-based plastic* by over 50%. 

To demonstrate compliance with sustainability criteria and highlighting its contribution to the bioeconomy in a transparent and credible way, BRITA has opted for the ISCC licensing scheme. This enables the company to label its products with a logo to indicate the finished goods comply with the ISCC PLUS standard and help reduce the dependency on fossil raw materials.

Traceable and sustainable supply chains

In its role as a leading provider of water filtration systems, BRITA supplies consumers and businesses alike with high-quality products. As consumers have become more sustainability conscious, sustainability criteria increasingly influence their purchasing decision. Thus, theISCC logo helps consumers make a better-informed purchasing decision.

Meike Rapp details: “We are a global company and work with different suppliers. Thus, it is crucial to us that our suppliers attach as much importance to sustainability, quality and transparency as we do. All our relevant suppliers work in line with the ISCC requirementsand thereby ensure that the certified materials comply with the respective standards throughout the entire supply chain. That’s a win-win-situation for us, our suppliers and customers.”

Future-oriented action

The collaboration between ISCC and BRITA signifies a commitment to reducing the dependency on fossil materials. Both organisations are confident that this partnership will inspire industry-wide initiatives and contribute to the transition to a bioeconomy.

* The “bio-based” materials referred to in this article have been forwarded throughout the supply chain with the mass balance approach. This means that bio-based waste and fossil material have been physically mixed. With certified bookkeeping, it can be ensured that an equivalent share of the claimed material has been sourced at the beginning of the supply chain.