PLASTIC PACKAGING GERMANY
Forum PET welcomes extension to mandatory deposit scheme / Additional 44,000 t of rPET in the bottle-to-bottle recycling loop
As a result of the amendment to the German packaging act (VerpackG) adopted by the Bundestag in May 2021 (see Plasteurope.com of 13.05.2021), a deposit of 25 cents will be charged on further single-use plastic beverage bottles and also on beverage cans as of 1 January 2022. The previously exempt fruit and vegetable juices and nectars in such plastic packs will also be subject to a deposit. Milk and milk products have been given a longer transition period until 2024.

Both the Forum PET (www.forum-pet.de) within Germany’s plastics packaging industry association Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen (IK, Bad Homburg; www.kunststoffverpackungen.de), in which the manufacturers of both single-use and returnable PET beverage bottles are represented, and German fruit juice industry association Verband der deutschen Fruchtsaft-Industrie (VdF, Bonn, www.fruchtsaft.de) are in favour of the new regulation. “For consumers it was in the past not logical that apple spritzers were subject to a deposit while apple juice was not,” said IK managing director Isabell Schmidt.

By extending the mandatory deposit to cover almost all beverage categories, she said, the system is not only easier to understand for the consumers, it also adds more weight to the idea of the bottle-to-bottle cycle. According to a study by German market research institute Gesellschaft für Verpackungsmarktforschung (GVM, Mainz; www.gvmonline.de), the recycling quota of single-use PET beverage bottle subject to a deposit in 2019 was 97.4%. Expanding the mandatory deposit scheme is expected to strengthen the closed material cycle of PET beverage bottles. Schmidt predicts that an additional 44,000 t of polymer will be added to the bottle-to-bottle recycling loop each year. This is an increase of more than 10%.
Commitment to more rPET anchored in the legislation
The latest amendment expands the deposit system to include juices and nectars, adding a recycling quota at the same time (Photo: Forum PET)
In addition to extending the mandatory deposit, the amendment to the packaging act also provides for a recyclate quota for single-use PET beverage bottles. Such bottles must contain at least 25% recycled PET from 2025, and at least 30% from 2030. IK’s managing director strongly supports these new regulations: “High recyclate quotas are the right way to strengthen the closed bottle-to-bottle loop and to further improve the environmental balance of PET beverage bottles,” she said. As the GVM study shows, PET beverage bottles produced in Germany in 2019 already contained an average of 34.4% recycled PET.

At the same time, Schmidt points out that “the demand for recycled PET from beverage bottles has risen sharply in the last few years, especially outside the beverage segment, because many companies internationally want to use the material from the German deposit system for their products”. As a result, there is a growing shortage of material, and the prices for rPET have risen accordingly.

Schmidt fears that the prescribed recyclate quotas will put particularly small manufacturers under pressure, as they are barely able to pay the rising recyclate prices: “There are concerns as to whether they will be able to comply with the legally required quota for 2025.” She regards the extension of the mandatory deposit scheme as an important step towards getting more material into the cycle, thereby reducing the pressure on prices. At the same time, Schmidt emphasises the necessity to establish efficient deposit systems in other European countries in order to comply with the relevant EU requirements.
03.01.2022 Plasteurope.com [249294-0]
Published on 03.01.2022
IK: Forum PET begrüßt erweiterte PfandpflichtGerman version of this article...

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