Cologne, 11 June 2021. It was published on 12 June 1991: The German Packaging Ordinance, a legal text so far unique in the world. For the first time, it obligated manufacturers to assume responsibility for proper disposal of their products – in this case packaging – even if such packaging had long left their premises. What was called extended producer responsibility was implemented by Der Grüne Punkt, which had been set up for this purpose in 1990. In subsequent years, Der Grüne Punkt put in place a system for separate collection of packaging in Germany (e.g. Yellow Bin, Yellow Sack), to which practically all German households had been connected by 1993.
“The Packaging Ordinance was both revolutionary and visionary: Manufacturers assume responsibility for the packaging they produce and thus see to its eco-compatible and recycling-friendly design. The concept has since then spread to countries all over the world and is one of the key strategies to combat plastic littering on our planet,” says Michael Wiener, CEO of Der Grüne Punkt. “But the difficulties encountered in the first few years also go to show that such a concept needs to be continually refined.” Fast establishment of the collection system, collection quantities that were high right from the start, and the poor payment record of some obligated companies subjected the still-young system to its first stress test in 1993.
New monitoring mechanisms based on a proposal by Der Grüne Punkt helped stabilize the system which has since then been refined on a continuous basis. The German Packaging Ordinance was in 2019 superseded by the German Packaging Act. “Der Grüne Punkt still stands for a proactively embraced circular economy today,” says Michael Wiener. “We have meanwhile expanded the value-added chain and produce new plastic from waste collected in the Yellow Bin in-house. The circular economy and recycling are the two key strategies for getting to grips with plastic waste polluting our natural environment.” Without the circular economy, climate protection cannot succeed, either, continues Wiener. “Almost half of the climate-relevant emissions are acccounted for by materials production and agriculture. We have to recycle resources like plastic, otherwise we won’t reach the climate production targets specified.”
For this purpose, Michael Wiener demands supporting measures so as to promote the use of recycled plastics: “What we need now is Extended Producer Responsibility 2.0. If it is possible to use recycled plastic for making a product, either in whole or in part, then this must become normal practice. That’s the only way to progress the market for recycled plastics, and the circular economy as well.”
Caption: Since the Packaging Ordinance came into force 30 years ago, plastic packaging has been collected separately in Germany and recycled (Photo: Der Grüne Punkt).
Your contact person:
Norbert Völl, Tel.: +49 2203 937507
About the Der Grüne Punkt Group:
The companies of Der Grüne Punkt are service providers for extended producer responsibility, leading suppliers of secondary raw materials for plastics, and premium producers of plastic recyclates, and as such positioned as the premier solution providers for the needs of the circular economy. Der Grüne Punkt – Duales System Deutschland GmbH (DSD), with the Green Dot as its trademark, was among the companies to introduce and establish the dual system in Germany, and stands for intelligent take-back systems, plus the development and marketing of innovative recyclates and services. Systec Plastics, at its facilities in Eisfeld and Hörstel, produces premium-quality recyclates under the Systalen brand name for the international market. The companies are grouped together in DSD – Duales System Holding GmbH & Co. KG.