German plastics recyclers in ‘critical situation', public incentives needed - trade group

Author: Stefan Baumgarten


LONDON (ICIS)--Germany’s plastics recyclers are in a “critical situation" because of the coronavirus pandemic and things could become even worse in coming months, according to the country's recyclers trade group Bvse.

“The combination of falling prices for new plastics, falling demand, and logistical difficulties put a considerable strain on recycling companies”, said the trade group's vice president Herbert Snell.

“We see tremendous problems facing the industry because we are dealing with a global crisis scenario that could worsen over the next few weeks and months as the corona-related restrictions are gradually lifted”, he said.

“It will be many months before the global economy starts up again and the supply chains function smoothly nationally, in Europe and internationally," he said.

Bvse has 300 member firms.

On the processing side, the group has 43 member companies  which, before the crisis, produced 1.7m tonnes/year of recycled product, employed 2,750 people, and had annual sales of €630m.

However, the price decline for virgin plastics has made recycled plastics uncompetitive, Snell said.

He called for government measures that are specifically aimed at reinforcing recycling and at accelerating the building of a circular economy in Germany and the wider EU.

This crisis is the right time to set incentives for recycled plastics, he said, and went on to call for changes to the public procurement system to ensure that it buys recycled products on a large scale.

"The coronavirus crisis should not be used as an excuse for slowing down efforts to protect the climate and the circular economy," said Snell.

In related news, Germany’s government said last week it would move forward with legislation to ban certain plastic products.

Also, in neighbouring Austria a recycling trade group called for quotas to help that country’s plastics recyclers.

Front page picture: Aerial view of green refuse collection vehicles in a recycling facility in Germany
Source: Hans Blossey/imageBROKER/Shutterstock 

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