When it enters into force on 1 January 2019, the German Packaging Act will bring about fundamental changes. Ideally, the Act would revolutionise the use of packaging waste and create a closed-loop economy for plastics that unquestionably marries environmental protection and resource conservation with cost-effectiveness. This can only be achieved if all participants in the value chain move in the same direction. The Act will bring huge challenges for the recycling industry, but also opportunities: considerably higher mechanical recycling rates, particularly for plastics, so that both the sorting technologies and the recycling infrastructures will be expanded on a large scale and in some cases even rethought. This will require major investment, which in turn will create jobs, boost the economy and increase the competitiveness of Germany as a centre for industry.
Interseroh has been investing in technologies and methods for recycling plastics from the “yellow bin” for years. Managed by scientists, the laboratory in Slovenia focuses on high-quality recycled plastic, which increasing numbers of manufacturers are using as an equivalent replacement for oil-based new material.
In addition, closed-cylce management of materials is going a long way to reducing greenhouse gases and is thus helping to achieve global climate targets. However, only standardised, recyclable packaging can be recycled efficiently, cost-effectively and comprehensively. Eco-design is a driving factor in this regard. Thanks to its operational and technical expertise, the recycling industry is able to support packaging producers and the packaging industry in implementing the requirements of the German Packaging Act efficiently. In collaboration with scientists, Interseroh is developing a process for determining the recyclability of packaging materials for purposes of optimisation.
This means that closed-cycle management, waste prevention and cost-effectiveness are not contradictory but actually provide the foundations for a successful future.