With the new five-point plan presented by the Federal Minister, Germany is taking another important step in the direction of plastics reduction and recycling. The German Trade Association supports the Federal Government’s plans and emphasises its willingness to play an active role in reducing plastics and unnecessary packaging.

On the occasion of the five-point plan presented by Federal Environment Minister Sabine Schulze, the Handelsverband Deutschland (HDE) commented on the new packaging law. The HDE confirms the necessity of the consistent plastic reduction and the development of recycling. The dialogue between all actors in the value chain is particularly important, since “the trade (…) is dependent on manufacturers and suppliers for many products and packaging”. HDE Managing Director Stefan Genth stressed this in a recent press release.

Voluntary self-commitment Basis for future cooperation

In the past, retailers were already active in reducing plastic packaging, for example by voluntarily avoiding plastic bags. This has more than halved consumption since 2016. “Packaging can be saved through clever ideas and cooperation, but not through bans,” explains Genth. He continues to see the future in voluntary self-commitment and mutual support.

The Packaging Act, which comes into force at the beginning of 2019, represents a further important step in this direction. In accordance with the proven principle of voluntary commitment, this law is also intended to ban unnecessary packaging, such as fruit and vegetables, from supermarkets. Specifications regarding product safety and hygiene play a central role here.

Significantly higher recycling rates and labelling regulations

The Packaging Act also regulates recycling quotas. In this context, ecologically advantageous and recyclable packaging is financially preferred. “The trade already uses recycled plastic in many packaging today, and this will increase significantly in the future. This saves new materials and conserves resources,” says Genth. The dual systems financed by industry and trade will have to meet much higher recycling quotas from 2019. By 2022, plastic packaging is expected to increase from 36% to 63%, ferrous metals and tinplate from 60% to 90%, aluminium from 60% to 90%, paper, cardboard and paperboard from 70% to 90% and glass from 75% to 90%.

In particular, Genth sees the dialogue between the EU and trade as the basis for a resource-conserving economy. He also emphasises the importance of supporting Asia and Africa in the establishment of a closed-loop economy, as this is where a large part of the waste in the world’s oceans comes from.

Private households also in demand

But private households are also in demand as a result of the new law. One of the main goals is to recycle more waste from private households. Together with the dual systems, municipalities can decide on the introduction of recycling bins. So far, about 14 million inhabitants in Germany have such a bin. The retail trade’s obligation to mark disposable and reusable bottles clearly and visibly on supermarket shelves is intended to enable consumers to make a conscious decision.

 

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Link: Handelsverband Deutschland

Image: iStock

//CF