In Germany, much more recycled plastic could be used for packaging. However, this would require more high-quality recycled materials on the market and fewer legal hurdles for their use. This is the result of a study commissioned by the German Retail Federation (HDE).
The study shows that there is little or no obstacle to using recycled materials in only ten per cent of plastic packaging. Particularly with plastic packaging in the food sector – for example, trays for fruit and vegetables or yoghurt pots – the use of recycled plastics is currently hardly possible. Meanwhile, recycled materials are already being extensively used in other products such as pallets or plant pots.
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“Binding and reliable quality standards must be set for the use of recycled plastics so that they can be used more comprehensively than before,” comments Stefan Genth, HDE Secretary General. “For food packaging in particular we also need a fast, unbureaucratic approval procedure for recycled materials that come into contact with foodstuffs.” Political guidelines for a much-debated minimum recyclate content in packaging would additionally exacerbate the scarcity of recycled material and drive up prices.
The study was carried out by the Gesellschaft für Verpackungsmarktforschung (GVM) on behalf of the HDE climate protection offensive. Increased use of recyclate in plastic packaging makes a direct contribution to climate protection, because it saves new material produced from crude oil. Reprocessing plastics to produce recycled materials also consumes less energy, and is accordingly more climate-friendly than the production of new goods.