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As planned, Coroflex switched completely to PCB-free silicone processing in Wuppertal on Jan. 1, 2021. In the course of this, the compensation model with which the company compensated its neighbors on a goodwill basis was also terminated as planned.
Silicone processing without release of PCB
Coroflex had announced in June 2020 that it would completely switch the processing of silicone in Wuppertal to a process that no longer produces PCBs by the end of 2020. The company had announced this decision after PCBs were found in the vicinity of the company site during the analysis of dandelion leaves by the LANUV (NRW State Office for Nature, Environment and Consumer Protection), which can be produced during the processing of silicone and whose quantity partially exceeded the so-called background value for PCBs customary in North Rhine-Westphalia. The city of Wuppertal had then issued a recommendation that certain leafy vegetables harvested in the immediate vicinity of the company should not be consumed as a precaution.
"We have worked diligently to manage the changeover processes in production and to obtain approvals from our customers," says Dr. Martin Uebele, press spokesman for the Coroplast Group. "However, we also lost customers in the course of the approval processes, some of which were very time-consuming."
In view of the pending results of the LANUV kale investigation, it remains to be seen to what extent the results will deviate from the background values customary in North Rhine-Westphalia. In any case, since the traditional processing method was still used in the second half of 2020, Coroflex expects that traces of the PCB congeners typical of silicone processing will still be detectable in kale plants harvested in late fall 2020.
Compensation model ended as planned
In the course of the conversion of silicone processing to a PCB-free process, the compensation model with which the company compensated neighbors of the Wuppertal production site in the district of Nächstebreck for crop losses was terminated as planned. "We paid out a lump sum of 100 euros to about 150 neighbors as a gesture of goodwill in an unbureaucratic process, and in individual cases more," Dr. Uebele said. "Our payments were intended to help compensate neighbors for the financial damage they suffered by following the consumption recommendation," Uebele said. "We are very pleased with the broad acceptance of the proposed compensation," the Coroplast Group spokesperson continued.