Packaging products have to be made suitable for closed-loop circulation – throughout Europe
Conserving raw materials, preventing waste, managing recyclable materials in the closed loop: at today’s “Future Resources 2020” conference, 251 experts from the retail trade, industry and the recycling industry discussed the international importance of the recycling of packaging – and highlighted approaches for its sustainable optimisation. Due to the current situation with the coronavirus, the event that was hosted by Interseroh and the German Packaging Institute (dvi) took place online in its entirety.
“We are pleased about the considerable resonance and the intention of the participants to bring a joint sense of impetus to the topics of recycling and the closed-loop circulation for packaging,” said Markus Müller-Drexel, Managing Director of INTERSEROH Dienstleistungs GmbH on welcoming the participants to the event. “The goal of a climate-friendly closed-loop economy that focuses on conserving resources will be easier to achieve if the stakeholders are prepared to embark on new paths and overcome boundaries.”
“Large parts of the business world consider the closed-loop economy to be a key strategy in reducing emissions of CO2 and also think it is a strong motor for innovation,” confirmed Sabine Nallinger, Chair of the CEO Initiative The 2 Degrees Foundation – German Business Leaders for Climate Protection in her presentation on the topic of “Packaging vs. raw materials – what is more important right now?” In this respect, taking decisive action at the European level is the key. “These businesses want a strong Green Deal, and are demanding strong EU legislation to protect the climate.” To enable the creation of a closed-loop economy, additional regulations must be advanced on a targeted basis: “We need new taxes on primary raw materials and guidelines concerning the minimum use of recyclates. In the future, packaging products must be made suitable for closed-loop circulation.”
Dr Carl Dominik Klepper, Managing Director of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Verpackung + Umwelt e. V. (Working Group for Packaging + the Environment / AGVU) then turned his attention to Europe and the current challenges posed by the EU legislation, and presented corresponding initiatives from the AGVU.
Ansgar Schonlau, Managing Partner at packaging manufacturer Maag GmbH steered the focus to the practical level. The suitability of packaging for closed-loop circulation requires both a recycling-friendly design and the respective sorting and recovery infrastructure. Taking the example of plastic packaging: “A high degree of quality and/or homogeneity in the area of mechanical recycling can only be achieved with single material packaging. When choosing the packaging material, it is also necessary to pay attention to the sales markets for recyclates. The demand for (PP) recyclate is particularly high,” explained Urban Buschmann, Director of Packaging Development and Sustainability at FRoSTA AG, who reported about specific experiences with the optimisation of packaging. A few years ago, the food retailer changed its packaging to PP mono material – and is now offering frozen food products in paper bags to respond to the wishes of the consumers.
Despite every effort of the world of business, however, the closed-loop circulation of packaging can only succeed if the consumers actively cooperate. After all, the advance sorting of the waste packaging by households is an important requirement in ensuring the high quality of the subsequent recycling. To inform and motivate and to dispel errors, the dual systems have launched the “Mülltrennung wirkt” (separating waste works) campaign. Axel Subklew, the spokesman of “Mülltrennung wirkt”, presented the individual measures for clarification and information regarding the separation of waste to those attending the Future Resources conference.
“Our event demonstrated the importance of bringing all the stakeholders together if we want to achieve a sustainable circular economy in Europe,” explained Winfried Batzke, Managing Director of the dvi, summing things up. “Whether it is on-site or virtual – in the future, we will use this platform to bring the participants in the value chain for packaging around the table and to develop joint solutions for the future.”
Further information available in German here www.future-resources.de.