New mini­mum stan­dard 2023 – for mea­su­ring the recy­cla­bi­li­ty of pack­a­ging

New mini­mum stan­dard 2023 – for mea­su­ring the recy­cla­bi­li­ty of pack­a­ging

The Cen­tral Pack­a­ging Regis­ter Office has published the new edi­ti­on of the Mini­mum Stan­dard 2023 as of Sep­tem­ber 1, 2023. The publi­ca­ti­on hap­pens in agree­ment with the Fede­ral Envi­ron­ment Agen­cy. Cate­go­ries for eva­lua­ting recy­cla­bi­li­ty remain unch­an­ged.

The aim of the Pack­a­ging Act is to pro­mo­te high-qua­li­ty recy­cling in order to con­ser­ve resour­ces and redu­ce the impact of pack­a­ging was­te on the envi­ron­ment. This can only suc­ceed if com­pa­nies design their pack­a­ging in a way that is sui­ta­ble for recy­cling and if this pack­a­ging is actual­ly recy­cled. Just as com­pa­nies design their pack­a­ging with their pro­per­ties in mind, plant tech­no­lo­gies, pro­cess tech­no­lo­gies and their capa­ci­ties must also be adapt­ed to the respec­ti­ve mate­ri­al requi­re­ments. For this reason, the Pack­a­ging Act sti­pu­la­tes that pack­a­ging may only be clas­si­fied as recy­clable if a func­tio­ning recy­cling infra­struc­tu­re is in place.

As part of a stu­dy by the Fede­ral Envi­ron­ment Agen­cy, the spe­ci­fic sort­ing and recy­cling capa­ci­ties for the dif­fe­rent types of pack­a­ging are deter­mi­ned sci­en­ti­fi­cal­ly each year. The results are incor­po­ra­ted into the fur­ther deve­lo­p­ment of the mini­mum stan­dard. In par­ti­cu­lar, quan­ti­ta­ti­ve state­ments are made on the avai­la­bi­li­ty of exis­ting sort­ing and recy­cling struc­tures, dif­fe­ren­tia­ted by pack­a­ging type. On this basis, the mini­mum stan­dard alre­a­dy regu­la­tes the cases in which indi­vi­du­al pro­of of actu­al recy­cling is requi­red. If capa­ci­ties are pro­ven for more than 80 per­cent of the mate­ri­al flow, it is assu­med that a suf­fi­ci­ent recy­cling infra­struc­tu­re is available. If sort­ing and recy­cling capa­ci­ties cover less than 20 per­cent of the mate­ri­al flow, com­pa­nies alre­a­dy have to pro­vi­de ite­mi­zed pro­of of recy­cling. If the­re are limi­t­ed recy­cling capa­ci­ties bet­ween 20 and 80 per­cent, such an ite­mi­zed state­ment can alre­a­dy be requi­red sin­ce 2019.

Recy­cling infra­struc­tu­re remains unch­an­ged in the 2023 mini­mum stan­dard

In order to sim­pli­fy the appli­ca­ti­on and inter­pre­ta­ti­on of the mini­mum stan­dard and pro­mo­te high-qua­li­ty recy­cling, the­re was the fol­lo­wing pro­po­sed solu­ti­on in the con­sul­ta­ti­on pro­cess: Eli­mi­na­te the wide ran­ge bet­ween 20 and 80 per­cent for which the­re was no real regu­la­ti­on.

The 2023 mini­mum stan­dard does not initi­al­ly include this pro­po­sal. Howe­ver, the topic remains in focus, espe­ci­al­ly with regard to the plan­ned Euro­pean Pack­a­ging Regu­la­ti­on. Thus, it is to be expec­ted that pack­a­ging will always have to be reusable or recy­clable in the future; even if con­cre­te requi­re­ments and limit values of the expec­ted Euro­pean regu­la­ti­ons have not yet been con­clu­si­ve­ly defi­ned. Pre­pa­ring for this ear­ly and in a struc­tu­red man­ner is an oppor­tu­ni­ty and ensu­res the mar­ke­ta­bi­li­ty of the pack­a­ging solu­ti­on.

Chan­ges in the 2023 mini­mum stan­dard: Recy­cling of glass and prin­ting inks

In this year’s mini­mum stan­dard, the ZSVR has defi­ned a limit value for the light trans­mis­si­on (trans­lucen­cy) of glass. This deter­mi­nes whe­ther pack­a­ging made of glass is recy­clable. If a glass packa­ge is not trans­lu­cent, it is sor­ted out in the plants as a con­ta­mi­nant becau­se it is not recy­clable. This is the case, for exam­p­le, with pain­ted bot­t­les.

Nit­ro­cel­lu­lo­se (NC)-based prin­ting inks are now clas­si­fied as non-recy­clable in inter­me­dia­te prin­ting. NC impairs the mecha­ni­cal recy­cling pro­cess due to a limi­t­ed tem­pe­ra­tu­re resis­tance and redu­ces the qua­li­ty of recy­cla­tes.

If you have any ques­ti­ons about the new mini­mum stan­dard or if you would like to have your pack­a­ging tes­ted for recy­cla­bi­li­ty, cont­act our expert Peter El-Gaz­z­ar.

Source: Read the press release of the Stif­tung Zen­tra­le Stel­le Ver­pa­ckungs­re­gis­terhere.

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