Industry criticism of the planned single-use plastics fund
At a hearing in the German Bundestag, IK CEO Dr. Martin Engelmann criticized the design of the fund and the calculation of costs.
The Disposable Plastics Fund Act (EWKFondsG) was discussed at a public hearing of the Committee for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection on February 8. The German government's planned levy for manufacturers of certain single-use plastic products such as to-go cups, lightweight carrier bags, wet wipes, balloons and tobacco filters is intended to allow distributors of these items to share in the disposal and cleaning costs incurred by municipalities. Dr. Martin Engelmann from the Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen, who was invited as an industry expert, criticized not so much the establishment of a single-use plastics fund, but rather its concrete form: the introduction of a "special state levy" would become an "expensive disaster," he predicted, and in the committee hearing in the Bundestag also criticized the cost calculation, which was inconclusive and went beyond what was necessary. It was also unclear which packaging is affected at all. The special state levy will prove to be a dead end, because the constitutional requirements are also doubtful, Engelmann explained at the hearing. By setting up and administering a fund at the Federal Environment Agency, Germany is taking a "special path" and deviating from the tried-and-tested "principle of product responsibility," Engelmann continued. Instead of setting on private-economical and more favorable solutions, again more bureaucracy and expensive double structures would be created, criticized angel man. Already in the apron an association alliance from BdS, BVE, BVTE, HDE, IK, IPV and mark federation had expressed itself to the calculation of the height of the suggested special contribution, which is wrong and inconclusive from their view. They said the current proposal leads to an imbalance in cost reimbursement. "The affected products account for 5.6 percent of all waste in the public domain. However, according to the proposal, their producers should bear 17 percent of the total collection and cleaning costs of the municipalities, 434 million euros annually. This is far too high, even compared to other countries," the associations criticized in their statement. The Federal Environment Agency had suggested that the costs for the collection of littered waste should not be based on weight, as is usually the case, but should also include the number and volume of the waste. If only the weight were taken into account, the special levy would amount to a total of 164 million euros per year, according to the associations.
- kunststoffverpackungen.de (Feb. 6, 2023)
- bundestag.de (Feb. 8, 2023)
- Photo: unsplash.com / Sam Kaenner