IK: Investigation of the potential for the use of recycled materials in plastic packaging.

31.08.2021 10:46
IK Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen e. V. The potential for the use of recycled materials in plastic packaging has been identified. The results of the GVM Market Research Association Packaging: The use of recycled plastics in packaging can increase from 475 tons per year to about 960,000 tons, or about 22% of production. The use of 1 million tons of recycled plastics by 2025 is the industry's stated goal. "German manufacturers of plastic packaging are focusing on innovation and investment along the entire value chain to use more recycled materials in their products," says IK Managing Director Dr. Isabell Schmidt, explaining the Industrial Cycle Strategy. The race to catch up has begun: Between 2017 and 2019, demand for recycled materials increased by more than 18%, while consumption of virgin plastics declined. "This decoupling shows the packaging industry's great interest in using recycled materials," Schmidt said. But recycling at any price is neither sensible nor possible. Many packages place the highest demands on the quality of raw materials, especially food packaging, which accounts for 44% of the market. However, the number of suitable recyclables on the market is currently limited. IK's rationale is that plastics recycling has historically been driven by meeting legal recycling quotas rather than the raw material needs of the packaging industry. As a result, there has been little investment in the production of high-purity grades for food contact in recent decades. Most recyclables are currently used in other industries, for example in the manufacture of building products. But the framework should change. "By 2045 at the latest, the year in which Germany hopes to achieve climate neutrality, plastics must be made entirely from recycled materials and other renewable raw materials," says Schmidt, explaining the industry's vision for the future. The move away from fossil fuels is complete. It requires the industry to invest billions of dollars in recycling design and the expansion of high-quality sorting and recycling processes. Another challenge is to collect it separately: Much of the plastic waste currently ends up in residual or commercial waste, where it is highly mixed and contaminated. It is considered uneconomical to get it out. "However, when it comes to separate collection of plastic waste, recycling has the best effect - we have seen the best effect in the deposit collection of PET beverage bottles. Here, the recycled material produced even meets the strict legal requirements for food contact To cover the industry, politicians must work hard to ensure that separate collection is significantly improved across Europe and that plastic waste is completely banned from landfill," Schmidt demanded.

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