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Data published in a new study by the INFA Institute backs the call for the creation of a new and comprehensive recycling concept to improve the use of recyclable materials in municipal waste. The mutual goal of all market players must be to increase raw material efficiency. Old conflicts must be settled. The disputes between the public and private sectors and the dual systems must not be allowed to disguise the true potential of waste as a source of raw materials. The study shows that many cities and districts have already achieved some exemplary collection and recycling rates; many others, however, have not. Obligatory benchmarks should be used in the future to make sure that the most is made of these raw materials.
At the moment, discussions are focusing on sales packaging and products made of similar materials as well as on closing the loopholes in the Sales Packaging Ordinance. It would be helpful if politicians looked for ways to achieve the results of the INFA study by creating clear efficiency standards and setting collection volumes and recycling rates. Moreover, these should no longer be limited to waste packaging but also include other materials, such as biowaste, bulky waste and metals.
* either from collections of bulky waste or already separated from other waste
By reforming the Sales Packaging Ordinance, raw material efficiency could be greatly increased through high quality recycling. Based on its comparisons of the volumes currently being collected by cities and districts (divided up into clusters according to population density), the study calls for the introduction of obligatory benchmarks.
It estimates that – if the recycling targets were reached – up to 7.8 million tonnes of additional recyclable materials could be recovered from municipal waste every year. Around 25 percent of all cities and districts have already proven that these volumes can be achieved; 75 percent still have a considerable way to go yet. The aim of the new recycling law must be to set framework conditions so that as many recyclables as possible can be recovered from municipal waste. Both the technology and logistics systems needed to achieve the collection volumes and recycling rates published in the study are already available. This is the recycling goal for the future.