Record high for packaging waste

The volume of packaging waste in Germany rose to a record high in 2017. According to a recent study by the German Federal Environment Agency, 18.7 million tonnes (metric tons) were generated. That was 226.5 kilograms per person and 3 percent more than in the previous year.

Private consumers accounted for a share of 47 percent or 107 kilograms per capita. The environmental authority published the report on “The emergence and recycling of packaging in Germany” at the start of the European Week for Waste Avoidance. The reasons given include trends towards online dispatch and take-away food and drink. A further reason for the higher consumption is the fact that portions are becoming smaller.

The Federal Environment Agency cites economic growth as another reason for the increase. This is a “major driver”, as more products and greater consumption also lead to more packaging. However, dosing aids or functions to ensure the resealability of products are also problematic. These are sometimes designed to be “unnecessarily complex”, which in turn can increase material consumption and make recycling more difficult. In addition, there are too many packagings with different materials or composite plastics.

“We use far too much packaging,” said Maria Krautzberger, President of the Federal Environment Agency. “This is bad for the environment and for the consumption of raw materials. Waste should be avoided already in the production phase where this is possible. “Therefore, unnecessary and unnecessarily material-intensive packaging should be avoided. Much more reusable packaging is needed, not just for mineral water and beer. “You can also take your coffee with you in returnable cups, and those who take their food with them should also be able to do so in returnable containers.

The complete report of the Federal Environment Agency on the volume and recycling of packaging waste in Germany in 2017 can be found here.

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