The HDE is critical of the EU Commission’s draft directive. According to the trade association, the ban on plastic silverware, straws or balloon sticks was not effective. Instead, the HDE called for an overall strategy for even better recycling.

The draft that was presented by the EU Commission on 28 May 2018 (Luna Journal reported) does not lead to more environmental protection, according to the German trade association: “It is about creating awareness of problems in society. One successful model in this area, for instance, is the voluntary agreement between HDE and the Federal Environment Ministry to reduce the number of plastic bags,” explains HDE Managing Director Kai Falk.

Abandonment of plastic bags

In spring 2016, more than 240 companies in Germany commited themselves to hand over plastic bags for a fee only. These include the Karstadt department store, the H&M fashion chain, the electronics chains Media Markt and Saturn and the drugstore chain dm. Some companies completely go without with plastic bags and offer cotton bags and permanent bags (PET) instead. KIK was the first textile company to completely Abandon plastic bags. Since October 1, 2015, the company has gone without the use of plastic bags in all branches in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and since April 1, 2016 also in Hungary. Instead, KIK has switched completely to cotton bags and PET bags made of recycled material.

“The switch was a complete success and was very positively received by most customers. We received encouragement from many customers for this important step towards avoiding plastic waste,” says Patrick Zahn, Chairman of the Board of KiK. The textile discounter was able to save around 700 tons of plastic by forgoing plastic bags.

Consumption of plastic carrier bags minimized

Within one year, the voluntary commitment agreed upon in 2016 reduced the consumption of plastic carrier bags by one third. As a result, the EU reduction target set for 2025 was already achieved last year. The HDE is counting on the effect of the new packaging law that will come into force at the beginning of 2019. This will make it even easier to recycle plastic waste in the future. The association plans ambitious recycling quotas.

The law should also develop standards for recyclable design and promote the use of recycled materials. The HDE managing director is positive: “Now is not the time for hasty measures that are not well-thought-out. We need an even more efficient recycling system. The new packaging law points the right way. We should now implement this with the utmost care.”



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