Historisches Tönsmeier Fahrzeug 2

Our History

The history of PreZero is young – even though we have decades of experience.

In 2018, GreenCycle, a Schwarz Group company, created PreZero.com, an online-based platform where customers can obtain a real-time quote for the disposal of recyclables and waste from a wide range of fractions. What we could not foresee back then: Just one year later, the PreZero brand is the namesake for a corporate group with several thousand employees in the waste and recycling management sector. With great ambitions.


Today, GreenCycle can already look back on almost ten years of experience in recyclables management. The company was initially founded to arrange for managing recyclables from Lidl, Kaufland and Schwarz Production within the Schwarz Group based in Neckarsulm in Baden-Württemberg.

Parallel to developing the PreZero brand, initial talks on the acquisition of the Tönsmeier Group took place.

Historisches Tönsmeier Fahrzeug

Tönsmeier - almost 100 years of experience

The waste disposal and recycling company from Porta Westfalica, a family-owned business now being run by its third generation, was founded in 1927 as a so-called "Bahnamtliche Spedition", meaning a forwarding agent entitled by railway authorities: in 1958 it was commissioned for the first time to carry out dust-free waste collection. At the beginning of the 1990s, the first locations were opened in the new federal states of Germany and the company pioneered the newly created dual system in Germany.

The company's success was raised to international level when Tönsmeier opened the first branch in Poland in 1996. In the 2000s, the East Westphalian company entered the plastics and wood recycling business. This was followed by a participation in GRN Glasrecycling in 2005; before the two light packaging (LVP) sorting plants in Porta Westfalica and Oppin were put into operation in 2006 and 2007. Following extensive renovations, the annual sorting capacity of the two plants now amounts to around 240,000 metric tons. 2010 saw the opening of the combined heat and power plant "Energie Anlage Bernburg" (today known as PreZero Energy).

PreZero Arena bei Nacht

Since spring 2019, Tönsmeier has also officially become a part of PreZero in name.

Simultaneously, the strategic partnership between PreZero and TSG Hoffenheim in Sinsheim creates a symbol of sustainability and resource efficiency that is visible from afar: The PreZero Arena. 

PreZero is much more than just a waste management group. It also covers the entire recycling loop and invests in a clean future. Hence, several technical additions followed in 2019, such as the integration of the biogas plant operator Noll Biogas or the company Lewedag. With its participation in Kunststoff Recycling Grünstadt, PreZero took another important step towards closing the recycling loop in 2020.

PreZero US

PreZero operates internationally

GreenCycle's international business in the field of waste and recycling management also operates under the PreZero brand to symbolize global unity. Thus, the company RMG Recycling acquired in California (USA) was also renamed PreZero US in 2019. PreZero also uses the latest technology in other European countries. At the beginning of 2020, PreZero opened a fully automatic sorting plant for light packaging in Zwolle, the Netherlands, with a capacity of up to 80,000 metric tons per year. PreZero also recently welcomed Komart, a local disposal company based in Poland, into the business family.

Dual system active in Germany & growth in Europe

PreZero reaches another milestone in January 2021: the new own EPR system "PreZero Dual" is now available to companies throughout Germany as a partner for the licensing of sales packaging. Within the Schwarz Group, household products has also been sold for the first time at Lidl & Kaufland that has been made of 100% recycled plastic from PreZero. Likewise, PreZero Pyral and Lidl manage to jointly launch a deodorant can made of 25% recycled aluminum. The manufacturer Tubex is awarded the 2021 German Packaging Prize for the sustainable deodorant can.

LVP-Sortieranlage in Bremen

PreZero continues to invest in the construction of modern sorting facilities for lightweight packaging, because only well-sorted recyclables can be returned to the recycling loop. Together with Nehlsen, a new plant will be opened in Bremen, while the next one is already under construction in Eitting, Bavaria.

The year 2021 at PreZero in Germany will be marked by the acquisition of the SUEZ sites, which will significantly expand our site coverage and enable us to grow considerably. And not only in Germany. With Spain, Portugal & Luxembourg, we entry the market in three new countries and Prezero grows to over 30,000 employees in 11 countries.