Recycling economy for plastics still in its infancy / Bold ideas and measures needed to help recyclates achieve breakthrough
At the start of the K plastics trade fair, the Green Dot, together with NGOs, associations and entrepreneurs, held an event to shed light on the potential of high-quality plastics recycling and take stock of the progress made. Michael Wiener, CEO, DSD - Duales System Holding GmbH & Co. KG, made it clear that the results achieved so far left much to be desired. Because there were no regulatory hurdles and no economic incentives, the industry adhered to a large extent to primary plastics. High-quality plastic recyclates were still a niche product in the waiting loop.
"Messe K has existed since 1952. In his opening speech at the Green Dot stand, Wiener criticised that "since then we have not really come any closer to our goal of a recycling economy for plastics. "Innovations - such as cosmetic packaging made from our high-quality recyclate Systalen PRIMUS HDPE - prove that a recycling economy for plastics has long been possible. What is lacking is the will to use recycled materials and the necessary regulatory support from Berlin".
Christian Baudis, digital entrepreneur and co-founder of Orange Ocean e.V., gave the numerous visitors to the event insights into marine pollution. If used plastics were valued and used as a raw material on land, this would be a first important approach. Every new application on the market, including the use of recycled plastics in food packaging, improves the situation. Kai Falk, Managing Director for Communication and Sustainability of the German Trade Association (Handelsverband Deutschland), pointed out the possibilities retailers have for increasing the use of recycled plastics in packaging.
Kai Hildebrandt, Der Grüne Punkt, showed what is already possible in practice today as applications for plastic recyclates and systalene. Without close networking of the packaging and recycling industries, as well as processors and brand owners, it would be difficult to achieve a sustainable recycling economy.
In a concluding panel discussion with participants along the value chain from bottlers, manufacturers, machine builders and universities, in which Daniel Nebe, KAO, Johannes Schick, LINHARDT, Matthias Lesch, Pöppelmann, Günther Klammer, ENGEL, Prof. Eugen Herzau, HTWK Leipzig took part, the Green Dot discussed ideas and measures with entrepreneurs and scientists to boost the market for high-quality recyclates and thus the recycling economy.
"We have done our homework. The Green Dot is ready for a recycling economy for plastics," emphasised CEO Wiener. "Now trade and industry are called upon to switch to recycled materials, and politicians are called upon to create the necessary framework with a commitment quota for recycled plastics.