Plastic packaging -sustainability and recycling

nutrineo in an interview with the strategic purchaser of Uelzena eG - Laurens Rieckmann

3.5 million tons of garbage are produced by the world's population every day. By 2025, the number will almost double. Already, the impact on the environment is immense. Above all, plastics play a major role in this.

• Only 14% of plastic packaging worldwide is recycled, 41% across Europe, 50% in Germany
• In Europe, 31% of plastic waste is still being landfilled, in Germany <1%
• Recycled plastic (recyclates) only cover 6% of the plastic needs in Europe
• Packagings smaller than DIN A4 are incinerated directly and will not be recycled
• Between 5 and 13 million tonnes of plastic per year land in the sea (equivalent to 1.5 to 4% of global plastic production)
> An estimated 82% from Asia, up to 500,000 tonnes from Europe
• Problem: lack of waste management

The new packaging law in Germany (VerpackG)
Since 01/01/2019, the new packaging law (VerpackG) has been in effect and replaces the old packaging ordinance in Germany. The "VerpackG" should help to achieve a higher recycling rate of packaging and avoid packaging waste and thus drastically reduce Marine Litter (packaging waste in the oceans). Of course, the law also aims to protect against unfair competition. For this purpose, a publicly accessible register has been set up, in which everyone can check whether companies comply with the statutory obligations for the prevention and recycling of packaging waste.

Requirements of the new "VerpackG"
1. Duty to register
Every manufacturer of filled packaging is obliged to register at the specially created "Stiftung Zentralstelle Verpackungsregister".

2. Duty to participate in the system
Already under the previous Packaging Ordinance it was a duty to participate in a dual system for the recycling of packaging waste. New is that the introduction of the registration obligation and the granting of a registration number make everything much more transparent.

3. Consequences of violations
Who refrains the registration intentionally or negligently commits a misdemeanor, which can be punished with a penalty of up to € 100,000. In addition, your competitors can admonish you because that constitutes an unfair competitive advantage. 


Foil packaging of sachets at nutrineo
Foil packaging of sachets at nutrineo

Recyclable films in the focus of the nutrineo experts
For this reason, the purchasing department of Uelzena eG / nutrineo deals with packaging recycling at an early stage. Laurens Rieckmann is the strategic purchaser for packaging materials.

Mr. Rieckmann, why does the purchasing department already deal with the subject of recyclable films?
"Recent and ongoing media discussions about the wasteful use of packaging materials as well as new national legislation have brought retailers and our customers closer to us in the recent past to what extent there are more sustainable packaging solutions on the market and we can use them. We took this as an opportunity to hold a workshop in the presence of representatives from various departments involved. It showed the consequences of the new legislation, how recycling takes place in Germany and which alternative, sustainable solutions are currently available on the market. "

What matters in this subject matter, Mr. Rieckmann?
"Alternative and more sustainable solutions have u.a. Influence on machinability / performance, price, barrier (MHD), appearance and feel. For this reason, in addition to sales, such projects must at the same time include specialist areas such as production, technology, product development, business administration / controlling, marketing and quality management. "

Are there sustainable film solutions that are suitable for use with nutrineo?
"Overall, there are four approaches that lead to resource-efficient use, especially of fossil raw materials.
1. make the previous material structure of our composite films thinner or on e.g. Barrier layers such as aluminum to dispense.
2. To choose a composite of certain plastics whose recyclability is very high.
3. To choose a combination of partly renewable raw materials.
4. To use a composite of renewable raw materials, which would later be compostable.


Can government targets be met by 2022?
It will be interesting to see whether the requirements of the Packaging Act - 90% registration and 63% recycling - can be met by 2022. At present, recycling rates in Germany and the EU are still below 50%. Therefore, the VerpackG makes clear specifications not only for the manufacturers, but also for the recycling industry.

• Higher recycling rates for recyclables
• Innovative recyclable packaging (packaging manufacturer + manufacturer, for example, the food industry
• Better industrial sorting of the yellow bag packaging material
• Optimization of the separation of packaging waste
• Higher utilization of packaging smaller DIN A4