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Packaging: Consumption down slightly due to Corona

The Federal Environment Agency has published figures for the year 2020 on the generation and recycling of packaging waste.

According to the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) surveys, the Corona pandemic in 2020 led to a slight decrease in the consumption of packaging in Germany, and this was the first time since 2009. According to the UBA, a total of 18.8 million tons of packaging waste was generated, which corresponds to a decrease of 0.7 percent compared to 2019. According to the figures, an average of 225.8 kilograms of packaging waste was consumed per capita, 1.7 kilograms less than the year before. Of the total amount, 46 percent or 8.7 million metric tons or 104.9 kilograms per capita was accounted for by private end consumers, 1.6 percent more than in 2019. In terms of plastic packaging, there was a 1.2 percent increase in consumption to 3.2 million metric tons, despite the lockdown and partially discontinued production, according to UBA. More plastic packaging was consumed in industry and commerce as well as in private households, is said. UBA recorded an increase in recycling rates for all materials. Of the total packaging waste generated, 68.2 percent went into a recycling process, while most of the rest was recovered for energy. Surveyed since 2019 is the "feed to the last recycling process, which makes the recycling rates lower than under the old, input-based calculation method, it says. Plastic waste is reported to be 46.2 percent recycled. For the other materials, UBA gives the following recycling rates: Glass 79.7 percent, paper/cardboard 84.2 percent, ferrous metals 87.5 percent, aluminum 62.1 percent and wood 32.6 percent.

The IK Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen takes the new UBA figures as an opportunity to point out the unity of product and packaging in a press release. "The new UBA figures create an awareness of the amounts of waste that each of us produces on average - in addition to the recycling rates, these are important results of the study - also for us as an industry," says IK managing director Mara Hancker. Simply leaving out the packaging does not make consumption more sustainable, however, says Hancker; in fact, the opposite is usually the case. In addition, the environmental impact of the product was often many times greater than that of the packaging. On the occasion of the current campaign week against food waste, the IK is advocating a holistic view of consumption, product, packaging and their environmental or climate impact: "Packaging should be recyclable and recycled even more, but it is not produced as waste. They fulfill important protective functions that we should value much more - also by using them responsibly," says Mara Hancker.



  •, Pressrelaese IK (Sep. 29, 2022)
  • (Sep. 30, .2022)
  • Photo: © Tim Reckmann,

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