EXPRA News November/December 2019
Ispiring Packaging Recycling
EXPRA News November/December 2019
Highlights in this issue

European Commission presents European Green Deal
EU Heads of State and Government discuss multi-annual budget 
EC sends letter on SUP implementation to the Member States
EXPRA BOD & General Assembly meetings, November 26&27, Rotterdam  
Workshop on Collecting and Maximising Glass recycling through EPR,
December 12, Brussels 
ISWA event in Brussels discusses the Circular Economy 2.0, December 5, Brussels 
8th Conference on Canadian Stewardship Systems, November 3 – 5, Vancouver 
CEFLEX starts open consultation process for their design for recycling guidelines 
News from EEQ: Extended producer responsibility (EPR) at the core of an effective system
News from Italy: Senate approves plastic tax  
News from France 1: anti-waste law passes Senate and enters National Assembly 
News from France 2: Company fined for shipping non-compliant plastic waste
to Malaysia 
News from France 3 : Citeo, Total, RT, Mars and Nestlé Join Forces to Develop
Chemical Recycling of Plastics in France
News from Germany 1: “New packaging register is successful”, says German
Environment Agency
News from Germany 2: DSD does demand not to give a pardon for quota
News from Germany 3: ALDI leaves DSD…
News from Germany 4: Packaging waste increases by 3.8% in 2017
News from Germany 5: Work of the newly established DIN Working Committee
"Recycling of Plastics in the Circular Economy" starting
News from Germany 6: BMU launches program against marine littering
in Asia and Africa 
News from Germany 7: Recycling Performance of dual systems in 2018
News from Germany 8: Waste paper prices continue to fall
News from the UK 1: Authorities to repatriate 42 containers of plastic waste
from Malaysia
News from the UK 2: Project shows that changing the color of bins increases

European Commission presents European Green Deal
On 11 December, the new European Commission unveiled its ambitious plan to make the EU the first climate neutral continent in the world by 2050. To reach this objective, the Commission will propose the first European ‘Climate Law’ to enshrine the 2050 climate neutrality objective in legislation and present an assessed plan to increase the EU’s 2030 emission reduction targets to at least 50%. According to the Communication, climate action will be mainstreamed across all policies and sectors. Within the new Circular Economy Action Plan, to be published in March 2020, the Commission will adopt reduce and reuse of products over recycling. In particular, the Commission is planning the following initiatives:
•    A “sustainable products” policy, focusing on supporting circular design for all products on the basis of a common methodology and principles, and prioritising reduction and reuse of materials over recycling. Under this policy, the Commission plans to strengthen extended producer responsibility.
•    Particular emphasis will be placed on resource-intensive sectors, including plastics, textile, construction and electronics. 
•    Requirements to ensure that all packaging placed on the market is reusable or recyclable in an economically viable manner by 2030 (through the planned revision of Essential Requirements under the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive). A regulatory framework for biodegradable and bio-based plastics and further measures on single-use plastics are also foreseen.
•    On waste avoidance and minimisation, the Commission plans to come forward with new legislation including targets and specific measures to address over-packaging and waste generation. This will include possible measures on mandatory recycled content (including for packaging) and a proposal on a EU model for separate waste collection.

More details had been send to you via an adhoc mail and can be also found here
EU Heads of State and Government discuss multi-annual budget
On 12 December, EU Heads of State met in Brussels for the last EU Council Summit of 2019. While discussions mostly focused on the EU’s climate strategy for 2050, EU leaders also discussed the proposal on the Multi-Annual Financial Framework (i.e. the EU multiannual budget), on the basis of the latest “negotiating box” shared by the Finnish Presidency on 2 December. The document details the main budget headlines, including on the proposal for new “own resources” to be provided by Member States. The negotiating box also reiterated the proposal for a so-called “plastic tax”, which would take the form of “a national contribution calculated on the weight of non-recycled plastic packaging waste with a call rate of EUR [0.80] per kilogram”. 

While the basket of new own resources has drawn some criticisms especially from Eastern Member States, overall the plastic tax appears to be so far one of the least-controversial items of the budget and as such is expected to be tackled amongst the last item of discussion. The Council meeting on 12 December only discussed the main headlines of the MFF without reaching an agreement. According to press reports, Member States were overall not satisfied by the overall proposal shared by the Finnish Presidency, with concerns being raised, amongst other things, about the overall size of the budget. Negotiations are expected to continue under the Croatian Council Presidency (which takes office on 1 January 2020). 

More details can be found here.
EC sends letter on SUP implementation to the Member States
The services of the European Commission have sent a letter to the Member States to provide clarification of the legal timeframe for applying the different measures in the SUP Directive, to ensure that the Directive reaches its objectives of reducing the impact of certain plastic products on the environment, in particular the aquatic environment, and contributing to the functioning of the internal market.

Besides reminding the Member States of the various deadline that they have to take into account, it stresses especially key restrictions and procedures they have to take into account, namely: 

“In conclusion, the Commission services invite you to respect the following principles during the transposition period:
-    Respect the application deadlines in Article 17(1), second sub-paragraph, of the SUP Directive, i.e. not to apply measures such as bans on single use plastic products and marking of sanitary items before the 3rd of July 2021. A harmonised application of these rules across the EU is necessary to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market, and give sufficient time to economic operators to adapt their production and business models.
-    Notify the Commission of any technical regulations at the draft stage, in particular those aiming to transpose Article 4(1), pursuant to the Single Market Transparency Directive where so required by that Directive . Notify planned national transposition measures that are stricter than those in the Directive while demonstrating that the measures in question are proportionate and non-discriminatory. 
-    Not to introduce single use plastic market restrictions based on substitution with ‘biodegradable’ single use plastic alternatives because, in accordance with Article 4 of the SUP Directive, this is not a valid justification to introduce market restrictions in derogation of Article 18 Directive 94/62/EC on Packaging and Packaging Waste. Please note that the SUP Directive’s definition of plastic includes biodegradable plastics, and no exceptions are provided for biodegradable plastic products. 
-    As far as transposing legislation that has already been adopted or is in the process of being adopted, ensure that they are in full conformity with the Directive and respect the deadlines as set out therein.”
Finally, they remind the Member States that the Commission has launched a study that should help to issue EU guidelines again to help the Member States for their implementation.

EXPRA BOD & General Assembly meetings, November 26&27, Rotterdam  
On 26 November, The Board of Directors of EXPRA met in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, in total its 31st  meeting since the foundation of EXPRA over 6 years ago chaired by the new EXPRA President Cees de Mol van Otterloo, Dutch Avfalfonds. Key topics were the recent developments regarding the new waste legislation (WFD&PPWD) and SUP IAs, DAs and guidances, the different plastics policies and initiatives. EXPRA team provided an information on the status of the various implementation acts, studies and guidelines coming from the Single Use Plastics Directive as well as the Circular Economy Package. The serious challenges that EPR and industry will encounter in the coming years were also presented. 

On 27 November EXPRA held its autumn General Assembly in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. 18 members of EXPRA attended the meeting. During the meeting, EXPRA’s Managing Director Joachim Quoden presented preliminary summary of 2019 noting that 
2019 was dominated by the implementation guidelines for WFD / PPWD and SUP resulting in many consultations, workshops, position papers, individual meetings with DG Envi etc. During this year also was the start of the Circular Plastic Alliance by DG Growth which caused unexpected additional workload. 
The MD informed the members on the EXPRA highlights from April to November 2019 and outlook for the events coming in 2020.
Monika Romenska, EXPRA R&PA Manager informed the members about the state of play in the CEP IAs, Das and guidelines as well as the on-going developments with regards to the Single Use Plastics (SUP) Directive and other plastics policies and initiatives. 

Ms Romina Giovannetti, Ecoembes, Chair of RAC informed the member on the proposed action on EU technical level, Nation level and at EU high political level. RAC has also initiated collection of data form members on the National transposition of the new legislations in two dimensions.
Amanda Fuso Nerini, CONAI, Chair of the Sustainability and Packaging WG presented the activities of the WG as well as the forthcoming publications. The activities of the TWG were presented by the Chair, Daniel Tabone, GreenPak.
Very interesting was the presentation of the Chair of Data and Reporting WG, Mr Paul Christiaens, Dutch Afvalfonds on Monitoring, reporting & data collection, the new currency!? Which role EPR has to and can play? The presentation covered all hot topics namely: eco modulation, litter costs and plastic tax, focusing on the more technical aspects of calculation and reporting. In this regard, members were also called upon to reach out to their respective national experts. 

The Restart of ISWA in Rotterdam was presented by Mr. Marc Tijhuis, CEO ISWA. He especially focused on how can EXPRA and ISWA benefit of an increased cooperation. Mr. Tijhuis invited EXPRA to participate actively in the next ISWA World Congress which will take place in Rotterdam 28-30 September 2020.  

The General Assembly approved the budget 2020, the budget distribution method and the membership fees (not changed).
During the meeting, EXPRA and its members had to say good bye to Todor Bourgoudjiev, who is retiring. Todor was a member of EXPRA BOD and CEO of ECOPACK Bulgaria - one of EXPRA founding members. He will be missed and we at EXPRA are grateful for his strong beliefs in EPR, his dedication‎ to EXPRA and his constant support.

As previously agreed, 3 EXPRA members presented the situation in their countries – Valipac, EEQ and TAMIR. 

Workshop on Collecting and Maximising Glass recycling through EPR, December 12, Brussels 
The event was organized by FEVE jointly with FERVER, EXPRA and other PROs. Over 25 representatives of the glass packaging value chain (including the EXPRA members EcoVidrio, Afvalfonds, Eco Rom, Fost Plus and the respective material associations from Italy, Sweden, Finland)  gathered to discuss key aspects of the glass collection & recycling chain, namely:

•    What happens after collection? Minimising losses in the treatment of glass cullet and optimising the uptake of recycled materials in production.
•    How to increase glass collection without compromising on quality?
•    Is the bottle bank the most cost-efficient system to collect and recycle glass?

As Member States will be aiming for higher recycling rates, according to the new calculation rules, the European container glass industry has laid out a roadmap to achieve a 90% glass collection for recycling rate by 2030 across the EU. 
This Expert Workshop represents a major first step in building a common platform, bringing together Extended Producer Responsibility schemes from EXPRA, and PROsPA, FERVER and FEVE.

The different parts of the glass packaging value chain presented the situation of their sector at the moment, as well as current and future challenges: The uptake of cullet in a glass furnace - issues for production & packaging was presented by Hans Hilkes, Supplier Quality Manager Glass – Europe, Ardagh Group and the challenges for cullet treatment were presented by Baudouin Ska, Secretary General, FERVER. The many changes on the glass market were presented and the overall conclusion was that all stakeholders should adapt to these minimizing the (negative) quality impact for cullet.  

The challenges for Extended Producer Responsibility Schemes in the revised EU legislation on waste & packaging waste & possible impacts on glass collection were presented by EXPRA MD Joachim Quoden. He underlined the impact of the ne EU legislation and the forthcoming guidances on EPR and especially on eco modulation and Essential requirements.

EXPRA members from Spain (Ecovidrio), Netherlands (AF) and Romania (Eco-Rom Ambalaje) presented the Glass collection and recycling in their countries and especially how to reach 90% glass collection by 2030. 

Different approaches/ways for collection of glass (bottle banks, door to door) packaging were also presented and their pros and cons discussed by PROs as CITEO, SPV and Swedish Glass Recycling (Svensk Glasåtervinning).

Adeline Farrelly, Secretary General, FEVE presented the Close the Glass Loop initiative: the major industry stewardship programme for glass packaging initiated by FEVE and aiming to reach a post-consumer glass container collection target of 90% by 2030. In parallel the initiative should ensure that the recycled material is reused again into a new production loop of glass containers. Obviously, the contribution and active involvement of all parts of the value chain are crucial for achieving this goal. A study on the topic has been commissioned by FEVE to ACR+. Considering the strong support expressed by ACR+ for deposit, EXPRA should assess carefully the outcome of the study.

The possible additional benefits of the project were discussed, namely developing a “model (glass) collection system, as well as using the deliverables of the project for lobbying activities in different countries. The next meeting of the stakeholders under the project will be end of April and deliverables would be presented in June 2020.

ISWA event in Brussels discusses the Circular Economy 2.0, December 5, Brussels 
In his role as Chair of the newly reinstated ISWA EU group, Joachim Quoden organised and chaired an event in Brussels on 5 December, on the topic of “Towards a Circular Economy 2.0: Combining ambition with reality”.

The event, attended by more than 50 selected people, brought together Commission and Member States’ official, including 2 representatives from DG ENVI namely Rozalina Petrova and William Neile as well as the representative of the upcoming Croatian presidency, local authorities, waste management industry representative and NGOs to discuss the current challenges faced by municipalities and industry with the implementation of the EU waste framework. Participants learnt about the Commission’s priorities for the coming year as regards the Circular Economy Action plan and the review of a number of waste legislation (which were later confirmed by the EU Green Deal publication on 11 December). 

Speakers from ISWA and municipalities such as Rotterdam and Olso presented their activities on the implementation of the circular economy, highlighting opportunities but and challenges. The fast changing legislative environment at EU level (another review of the EU waste legislation is expected shortly, while implementation of the 2018 revisions have barely started) was highlighted as one of the main challenges from the industry.
8th Conference on Canadian Stewardship Systems, November 3 – 5, Vancouver 
In just over a decade, the bi-annual Conference on Canadian Stewardship has become the “go-to” forum for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) leaders in Canada, attracting delegates and guests from across the country, across North America, and around the world.

Held once every two years, the Conference brings together industry stewards, waste management and recycling professionals, product manufacturers, retailers, industry and trade associations, government representatives and stewardship program operators of all descriptions from across North America, Europe and beyond.

The Conference is North America’s foremost industry-led forum for promoting dialogue and understanding across all segments of the EPR community, this year attracting by far over 300 participants, notably also several civil servants from those US states where EPR for packaging is discussed within a legislative process.

EXPRA’s Managing Director Joachim Quoden was invited to speak about the current developments around EPR in Europe with a focus on the consequences for obliged industry. He presented the situation in a panel with Peter Börkey, EPR desk officer within the OECD, and Garth Hickle, former civil servant of the US EPA dealing with EPR. 

He also participated in a dedicated EU session together with Peter Sundt, Secretary General from EPRO, where the details of the amended WFD, PPWD, SUP, CPA and the national Plastic Pacts were presented and discussed with representatives from our Canadian EXPRA member EEQ, CSSA, Cleanfarms and Stewardedge Reclay. 
CEFLEX starts open consultation process for their design for recycling guidelines 

CEFLEX is the collaborative initiative of a European consortium of companies and associations representing the entire value chain of flexible packaging. EXPRA is involved within CEFLEX from the very beginning and even represented in the Board / Steering Committee as representative of the stakeholder group “others” by its MD Joachim Quoden.

The CEFLEX Mission is to further enhance the performance of flexible packaging in the circular economy by designing and advancing better system solutions identified through the collaboration of companies representing the entire value chain.

The CEFLEX Vision
•    By 2020 flexible packaging will have a comprehensive sustainability and circular economy roadmap for flexible packaging, including widely recognised design guidelines and a robust approach to measure, demonstrate and communicate the significant value flexible packaging adds to the circular economy.          
•    The roadmap will address:
o    resource efficiency
o    waste preventions benefits
o    sustainably returning recycled flexible packaging materials to supply identified end markets
o    elimination of leakage.

•    By 2025 there will be an established collection, sorting and reprocessing infrastructure/economy developed for post-consumer flexible packaging across Europe, based on end of life technologies and processes which deliver the best economic, technical and environmental outcome for a circular economy.

CEFLEX is pleased to announce a key step in the development of the Designing for a Circular Economy Guidelines. An open consultation process on the draft phase 1 guidelines will run from Friday 6th December 2019 to 17th January 2020 on www.ceflex.eu.  

The objective is to share the draft guidelines publicly so non-CEFLEX stakeholders can provide feedback, helping to ensure they are robust and comprehensive. 

They welcome our own customer, supplier and stakeholder input.  The online process requires some basic contact details to be registered, after which users automatically receive a full copy of the draft guidelines by email.  Feedback is made on the CEFLEX website and structured via a series of questions on different aspects of the guidelines.
News from EEQ: Extended producer responsibility (EPR) at the core of an effective system

In the midst of the recyclable materials markets downward spiral, western countries seeking sustainable solutions are now finding themselves in a tight spot. This month, the companies that fund curbside recycling in Québec will find out that their contributions will increase significantly in order to address current challenges including the dramatic drop in the value of materials—the impacts of which now reach tens of millions of dollars.
It is important to remember that the companies that place containers, packaging and printed matter on the market in Québec reimburse 100% of the net costs of municipal recycling programs through Éco Entreprise

Fortunately, there are concrete solutions to radically transform Québec’s recycling industry and make it a model of circular economy. Indeed, beyond the funding for curbside recycling they already provide, companies must be responsible for the materials they place on the market within an extended producer responsibility (EPR) framework.

We have determined four essential factors for a successful transition:
–    Packaging ecodesign as the norm: the manufacturing of ecodesigned packaging made from recyclable recycled materials with no overpackaging;
–    A comprehensive, integrated and transparent approach and constant preoccupation with quality for all stakeholders—citizens, municipalities, sorting centres, recyclers and companies—in every step of the value chain;
–    The development of local and neighbouring recyclable materials markets, since sorting aims to provide materials with a new life as locally as possible and thus limits greenhouse gas emissions;
–    Greater roles and responsibilities for companies, beyond the funding they already provide, in the organization of the system and management of the materials by creating a partnership with the municipal sector and recognizing the expertise of Québec sorting centres. A new partnership will lead to adapted and innovative solutions and help communicate accurate information to citizens to restore their confidence in recycling. A broad approach that involves the greater accountability of companies begins with informed citizens with sound sorting habits.

In Québec, thousands of companies have been proudly financing recovery for years. Now that we have laid the groundwork, we must ensure they take their place at the core of the system and work to make curbside recycling in Québec a model that is recognized for its performance throughout the world.
News from Italy: Senate approves plastic tax 
On 12 December, the Italian Senate approved the final text of the Italian budgetary law for 2020.

The final text includes the latest version of the controversial “plastic tax”.

The plastic tax will enter into force in July 2020 and will consist of a tax of 0.45 euros/kilo of plastics produced (down from 0.5 €/kg as previously proposed). The tax will cover composite beverage containers (known in Italy simply as “tetra pak”) while it will not be levied on products made of recycled plastic or packaging with a plastic component of less than 40%.

While the final text of the budget still need to be formally approved, no further amendments to the text are expected.

The draft law is available here (article 79) in Italian.
News from France 1: Anti-waste law passes Senate and enters National Assembly
TThe anti-waste bill was adopted by the French Senate at first reading on 27 September and will be further debated in the French National Assembly in the coming weeks. The proposal is expected to be adopted by the National Assembly in March 2020. The main objective of the proposal is to promote a circular economy by i.a. encouraging plastic producers to transform their production methods, improving waste collection and raising awareness among consumers.
Among others, the draft law seeks to strengthen the “polluter pays” principle, by extending it to more product categories such as toys, wipes, cigarettes, sports and leisure products, DIY and gardening items. Furthermore, manufacturers who design their products in an environmentally friendly way will receive a bonus on the contribution they pay for the management and processing of the “end of life” of their products. On the other hand, manufacturers who do not respect the eco-design principle in their production methods will see their contribution increased by a penalty. In order to promote reuse, the proposal also seeks to allow the introductions of deposit and return schemes to combat plastic pollution.
Additional details here and here.
News from France 2: Company fined for shipping non-compliant plastic waste to Malaysia   
For the first time, a French court fined a brokerage company €192,000 for sending non-compliant plastic waste to Malaysia. Twenty containers of plastic waste were sent back to France by the Malaysian authorities this summer. 

According to the French Ministry of Environment, this administrative fine will send a clear signal to companies and put an end to illegal practices.     
More details can be found here 
News from France 3: Citeo, Total, RT, Mars and Nestlé Join Forces to Develop Chemical Recycling of Plastics in France
Paris, December 10, 2019 – As part of Citeo’s call for projects to promote eco-design, recycling and recovery projects for plastic and paper in France, leading international energy company Total, plastic recycling technology provider Recycling Technologies, global brands Nestlé and Mars today joined forces to develop an innovative industrial chemical recycling industry in France.

The first-of-a-kind consortium of world-leading players from across the plastic packaging value chain will examine the technical and economic feasibility of recycling complex plastic waste, such as small, flexible and multilayered food-grade packaging. These products are currently considered non-recyclable and are therefore either incinerated or disposed of in landfills.

“This ambitious project meets Citeo’s goal of finding end-to-end solutions for all packaging. New recycling technologies, such as chemical recycling, will take performance to the next level and accelerate the circular economy for post-consumer plastic waste, especially when it is complex,” commented Jean Hornain, Chief Executive Officer of Citeo. “Our initiative will be a key driver to deliver short- and medium-term solutions.”

“By addressing the circular economy challenges of food-grade plastics, chemical recycling is a perfect addition to our existing mechanical recycling activities,” said Bernard Pinatel, President Refining & Chemicals at Total. “The project announced today to develop an industrial sector involving major players in the packaging value chain is an important step in our ambition to produce 30% recycled polymers by 2030.”

“We are delighted to be the technology provider for this project,” said Elena Parisi, Sales & Marketing Director at Recycling Technologies. “This cross-sector partnership is a great example of the industry working together to bring about the changes necessary to make plastic sustainable. We must carve out a clear pathway that others in the value chain will follow to boost plastic recycling capacity in France and elsewhere.”

“We are delighted to join this cross-value-chain consortium to help identify the right system to recycle flexible plastic packaging,” said Kate Wylie, Global Vice President, Sustainability at Mars. “In line with Mars’s Circular Packaging Plan including the goal for 100% plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by 2025, we plan to reduce unnecessary packaging, redesign for circularity and invest to close the loop. Identifying and investing in the right waste management systems is a critical part of the solution to address the plastic waste problem. We support this new pyrolysis project in France to help identify circular systems for post-consumer plastic packaging and consequently increase the scale of recycling across Europe.”

“We are aiming for 100% of our packaging to be reusable or recyclable by 2025. Combining our expertise in a collective project to improve recycling is something we need to do to tackle the global plastic issue,” said Claudine Rosiers, Head of Corporate Packaging at Nestlé France.

News from Germany 1: “New packaging register is successful”, says German Environment Agency

he German Federal Environment Agency (UBA) recently reported on the success of the new packaging register which was introduced on 1 January 2019. Through the new register, companies and consumers can access information on which packaging manufacturers are registered and participate to the recycling costs. To date, around 170,000 companies have complied with this requirement. 

However, the registrations are not considered sufficient, as according to the UBA some producers still do not contribute enough to the collection and recycling of their packaging. Consequently, as packaging consumption in Germany is at its historically highest level, the agency calls on manufacturers to further avoid plastic packaging which complicate recycling processes, to increase the share of reusable and to respect eco-design criteria to make products more energy efficient. In addition, the agency encourages regional governments (the “Bundesländer”) to fulfil their legal obligation to impose fines on companies that do not register.
More information can be found here.
News from Germany 2: DSD does demand not to give a pardon for quota omissions
The Green Dot calls on the authorities to put a stop to the "creative competition" of competitors. In a letter warns DSD CEO Michael Wiener before that other dual systems apparently planned to announce to the competent authorities that a failure to recycle quotas for 2019 unfortunately cannot be excluded, so a transitional period would be necessary.

As Wiener writes, it should be advertised for understanding, because the packaging law is finally new and complicated and the market environment is confusing. In addition, the recycling of secondary raw materials is unexpectedly difficult and deficient due to the extensive closure of the recovery routes to Asia. If this challenging environment is expected, one expects a "transitional period" until the full quota achievement is suspended according to the Packaging Act.

Wiener called on the authorities to reject such a request. They should clarify that the quota requirements of the Packaging Act already apply in full to the proof of quantity flow of the year 2019 and that misconducts are also penalized with the measures provided for by the Packaging Act. 
News from Germany 3: ALDI leaves DSD…

The Duales System Deutschland GmbH (DSD) has lost its largest customer with Aldi. The discounter will license its own-label packaging to the Interseroh Dual System next year. This is reported by suppliers who received letters from Aldi Süd and Aldi Nord in the course of last week.
The Discounter-sisters, however, wanted last week on request of EUWID "this currently no information".
According to data from system circles, the licensing order from Aldi accounts for a market share of between eleven and twelve percent. DSD recently had a market share in the dual system of about 30 percent. According to industry experts, the Green Dot is now increasingly promoting smaller license customers in order to reach a target of around 25 percent.
 News from Germany 4: Packaging waste increases by 3.8% in 2017

According to a recent study published by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), packaging waste increased by 3.8% in 2017 compared to the previous year. This means that every German produced on average 226.5 kg of packaging waste. 

While the deposit-return system in the opinion of UBA has allowed the country to reach one of the highest recycling rate in the EU (84.4% for glass and 49.7% for plastic), Germany still produces too much waste. The report identifies the main reasons as economic growth and consumer behaviour. President of UBA Maria Krautzberger stated that “despite the good recycling rate, we must continue to strengthen recycling and the use of recycled materials in order to save resources”. 

To note, in January 2019, a new packaging law aimed to improve the recyclability of packaging and enhance the promotion of reusable alternatives entered into force. The measure also sets higher recycling rates.

More details can be found here.


News from Germany 5: Work of the newly established DIN Working Committee "Recycling of Plastics in the Circular Economy" starting


Within the DIN Standards Committee for Plastics (FNK) of the German Institute for Standardization e. V. (DIN) the new Working Committee NA 054-01-08 AA "Recycling of Plastics in the Circular Economy" was founded in May 2019. This is a panel of experts made up of representatives from industry, the public sector and research who develop standards and standards for the sustainable recycling of plastics. The first working session took place on 4 November 2019.

Numerous plastic products accompany us consciously or unconsciously in our everyday lives: as toothbrushes, clothes, smartphones or computers, household and sports equipment, furniture or in the car. The medical, construction or packaging industries, similar to the current megatrends of lightweight construction or e-mobility, would be inconceivable without plastics. Plastics have gained this great market importance thanks to their excellent processing and service properties, which have been intensively developed and optimized in recent decades. So far, however, prevails in the plastics industry, a linear economic model, since especially the performance characteristics for the usage time the plastic products are optimized. The industry is, however, increasingly aware that in addition to the beneficial properties in the use phase, an economic recycling of plastics must play a major role.

Increasing environmental awareness and a sustainable use of finite resources requires the consistent implementation of the circular economy in the plastics industry. This approach represents a regenerative system in which the plastic waste generated after production and after the useful life of the products can be utilized and reused as effectively as possible. The basis for sustainable, marketable plastics recycling is the reproducible and high quality of recycled plastics. The development of quality requirements at meaningful points in the value chain can also open up new fields of application for recycled plastic waste.

In order to ensure the quality of plastic recyclates, experts from interested circles are now working together in the newly established working committee. The working committee reflects the international and European work on the recycling of plastics and draws up standards, specifications and technical reports for the collection, sorting and recycling of plastic waste. This includes the characterization of the quality of plastic waste along the value chain and of recyclates, as well as the available test methods, as well as the procedures for sampling, sample preparation and analysis. In addition, this working committee considers recycling procedures and product specifications. The working committee meets twice or three times a year to work out the individual topics and the corresponding standards. In addition to the employees, external experts are invited as required. 

News from Germany 6: BMU launches program against marine littering in Asia and Africa 
International RETech Conference provides platform for international projects on waste prevention and recycling
The Federal Environment Ministry launches a new support program for the development of waste management and recycling structures in Asia and Africa. It focuses on countries and river regions from which the world's largest amounts of garbage reach the seas. These are in Asia and Africa. In addition, projects are to be carried out in offshore regions and island states, where the main waste inputs are made directly by land. The program will be presented at the 3rd International RETech Conference in Berlin, where experts from today will exchange views on projects and initiatives to build environmentally sound and sustainable waste management systems for the global protection of coasts and seas. The Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Environment Ministry, Florian Pronold, opens the conference.

Pronold: "We all know the oppressive images of rivers whose surface, bottom and shore are contaminated with large amounts of plastic waste. These are often carried over long distances. With our support program we focus on the source and help with our knowledge. We want to help build environmentally sound disposal and recycling structures in the hot spots of plastic waste. Already this year, we will be funding three projects in Vietnam and India. Germany is thus implementing an important component of the G20 action plan against marine litter. "

The projects aimed at reducing waste inputs to the Mekong and Ganges rivers over the long term are aimed at changing consumer habits, product and material design, developing environmentally friendly supply chains and establishing sustainable waste management, with a market for recycled, secondary Raw materials are created. Ganges and Mekong are among the world's ten largest rivers, with the largest number of wastes entering the world's oceans - the African rivers Niger and Nile, as well as the Asian rivers Amur, Hai He, Huang Ho, Indus, Yangtzekiang and Perifluss.

In early 2020, the Federal Ministry for the Environment will launch a call for the funding program for the submission of project proposals.

To support projects worldwide for the prevention of marine litter, the German RETech Partnership and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, under the patronage of Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze, will be taking place on 21 and 22 November. an international conference on circular economy. It brings together politics, administration, business and representatives of affected states. The conference should strengthen the international exchange of experience, stimulate new projects and gather the current state of knowledge in the development of environmentally friendly disposal and recycling structures.

Armin Vogel, CEO RETech: "Reducing marine littering can only succeed if all actors work together to look at the framework conditions for a functioning city clean-up and circular economy in the affected countries. In addition to the development of the technical infrastructure and the training of skilled workers, this requires the establishment of a legal framework, the securing of financing, also through the involvement of the producers and not least the environmental education. To solve these questions, players in the German circular economy with their knowledge, experience and proven techniques and procedures can make an important contribution. "

The conference is funded under the Export Initiative Environmental Technologies and carried out in cooperation with the WWF and the EZ-Scout Program of GIZ.

German RETech Partnership e.V. - the network of German companies and institutions of the waste management and recycling industry for the export of innovative technologies and for the transfer of know-how. RETech unites companies, science and institutions from the entire field of the waste management and recycling industry under one roof and is the central point of contact for decision-makers from abroad.
News from Germany 7: Recycling Performance of dual systems in 2018
The packaging stream from the yellow bin is the best-monitored waste stream in Germany: from the collection to the last recycling plant, weighed bills have to be created on calibrated scales. For handling, sorting and processing plants, system balances are presented in the so-called mass flow verification of the systems. For the recycling plants, additional certificates often have to be submitted by experts (especially for all plastics). At the end, a registered expert checks the entire mass flow certificate and draws up a certificate.

Any delivery that does not meet the strict criteria of the corresponding ZSVR Test Guideline will not be accepted for the quota calculation.

On this basis, the recycling rates (Comment from the EXPRA MD: figures do only relate to the Dual Systems and not to the amount put on the market, so excluding free riding!)  for the year 2018 were checked and proved. In total, all quota specifications were reached or exceeded:


The increase shows that the systems are preparing for the much higher quotas of the year 2019. The high recycling rate for plastics can be explained by the fact that it relates to the amount of the respective system. This was not enough in 2018, the more successful the ZSVR brings the volumes into the system participation, the more demanding is the fulfillment of the quotas.
These quotas were largely fulfilled in Germany. For plastics, it was almost 90%. Of the 10% exported, almost 7% have been recycled in Austria and the Netherlands. For the quota, only 0.05% of the quantity delivered to non-European countries was recognized - it was a recovery in Switzerland.
News from Germany 8: Waste paper prices continue to fall
The German waste paper market is under increasing pressure. Extremely high volumes are faced with ever narrowing sales opportunities. The fall in prices, which has been going on all year round, intensified again in November. The mass varieties were particularly badly affected. The situation is likely to worsen in the coming months.

Apart from the sharp drop in prices, waste disposal companies are facing major problems in sales. The camps are extremely full all over the country, everywhere you are looking for free contingents. The reason for this is the continued pressure from neighboring European countries on the German market. The waste paper previously intended for export to Asia is now flooding the European markets. The oversupply in Europe is estimated to be around eight million tons a year.

The extremely large volume meets an ever weaker demand from the paper industry. Here the economic slump is gradually becoming noticeable. Capacities are therefore reduced. There are also occasional plant downtimes.

However, no improvement is in sight. On the contrary: a large number of factories will be leaving the market at the turn of the year. At the same time, a 20 percent increase in waste paper collection is expected in January due to the season. The forecasts for waste paper prices therefore continue to point strongly downwards. In December, double-digit discounts are expected for the bulk varieties, in January the minus could be similarly drastic. An end to the price decline is therefore not in sight, the nervousness in the industry is correspondingly high.

News from the UK 1: Authorities to repatriate 42 containers of plastic waste from Malaysia
Authorities and shipping agents are currently working on the repatriation process of 42 containers of non-compliant plastic waste from Malaysia to the UK. The announcement of the Malaysian authorities came shortly after a visit by the UK’s Environment Agency (EA) organised by the British High Commission following the news of practices of illegal shipment of waste from the UK.  To note, repatriation of illegally shipped waste back to European countries have increased in recent months, in accordance with the Basel Convention on Hazardous Waste.

More information can be found here.
News from the UK 2: Project shows that changing the colour of bins increases recycling
According to a project launched in the city centre of Leeds by the Hubbub charity in 2018, modifying the colour and messaging of bins can have a significant impact on recycling habits. The so-called ‘LeedsByExample’ project, which was financed by major brands and retailers, installed recycling bins for plastic bottles, cans and coffee cups on the streets, in offices and shopping centers as well as in universities and transport hubs.  

The project showed that designing bins in a simpler and eye-catching way helped tackling “on-the-go” waste as it allowed over 1.2 million coffee cups, 140,000 cans and 160,000 plastic bottles to be recycled during the 12-month trial. The Leeds City Council decided to take over the scheme and the latter has since then been spread to other UK cities such as Edinburgh and Swansea. 

More details here.
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