Germany: Minimum criteria for assessing the recyclability of packaging

October 9th, 2019

One of the main objectives of the new German Packaging Law, which entered into force on 1 January 2019, is to increase the recycling of packaging.

To achieve this, recyclable packaging is required in the first place, which is why the law requires collection schemes to provide incentives and assistance for producers to put on market only packaging that is highly recyclable. Although this approach sounds promising for the circular economy, there are some challenges when it comes to implementation. One of these challenges relates to the definition of recyclability.

The national authority responsible for packaging, the Zentrale Stelle Verpackungregister (ZSVR), has now published minimum criteria for assessing the recyclability of packaging. These criteria are based on draft guidelines that were published already last year and that stakeholders have responded to in two consultations. They give an indication on which packaging materials and material combinations can be deemed recyclable and which cannot. The criteria are supposed to be evaluated every year.

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