Plastic bags, bottles, cans: packaging waste in a landfill
Photo: Julian Stratenschulte / picture alliance / dpa
The consumption of packaging in Germany continues to increase.
In 2018, the amount of waste rose again to a record high: 18.9 million tons were incurred, as the Federal Environment Agency announced on Tuesday.
In mathematical terms, that was 227.5 kilograms per person, one kilo more than in the previous year.
Private consumers again had a share of 47 percent.
They produced over 8.9 million tons of packaging waste or 107.7 kilos per capita - one percent more than in 2017 and a full 20.6 percent more than in 2010.
The Federal Environment Agency (UBA) therefore has no knowledge of how the Corona crisis has affected packaging consumption - the data for 2018 are the latest official.
"Due to the closed shops and restaurants, however, it can be foreseen that above all more service packaging for food and drinks has been used," said the authority
More elaborate packaging, online shopping and eating on the go
In general, there are several reasons for the increase in recent years - in addition to economic growth, consumer habits, the trend towards resealable packaging, dosing aids and generally more complex closures.
"These functions can help to conserve resources through targeted dosing or to avoid food waste," it said.
"However, additional functions are often associated with increasing material consumption."
In addition, there would continue to be trends towards smaller portions, online shopping and eating and drinking "to go", ie to take away.
UBA boss Dirk Messner warned: "Packaging should be avoided before it even occurs."
Reusable cups for coffee, for example, should become the norm, and those who take food with them should be able to do so in reusable containers.
"The flood of pizza boxes and coffee mugs in garbage cans and parks would come to an end."
Manufacturers should make packaging as simple as possible so that it is easy to recycle and use reusable packaging.
"It is best to use recycled raw materials straight away for production," said Messner.
Recycling rate for plastic: a good 47 percent
Although there is a lot of packaging waste in Germany, a lot of it is also recycled - about 69 percent, as the UBA further announced.
The differences are big depending on the material: for steel it is 91.9 percent, for aluminum 90.1 percent, for paper and cardboard 87.7 percent and for glass 83 percent.
On the other hand, only 47.1 percent of plastic packaging waste was recycled, and only 25.3 percent of wood.
These are also figures for 2018 - a new packaging law has been in force since 2019 which, among other things, prescribes higher recycling rates and aims to promote the recycling friendliness of packaging through financial incentives.
The prescribed recycling rate for plastic packaging has been around 58.5 percent since 2019, and will rise to 63 percent in 2022.
However, different calculation bases apply for these quotas than for the quotas given by the UBA for 2018, which relate to all packaging waste generated in Germany that has been recycled within Germany or in another country.
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