Whether it’s big bags, films, cardboard, strapping, pallets or drums – most products can’t be transported from A to B without packaging. The amended EU Packaging Directive ([EU] 2018/852), which came into force in mid-2018, has resulted in all EU countries transposing the directive into their own laws – including Germany. Germany passed the Packaging Act (VerpackG) in 2019 and amended it in the summer of 2021. The goal: for packaging to not end up in a landfill somewhere or even in the countryside, and for it to instead be recycled wherever possible. Section 15 VerpackG requires those who place commercial and transport packaging on the German market to take it back once emptied.
So far, so good – but how does this actually work? As a company, you first have to register in the Central Agency Packaging Register’s LUCID Packaging Register. A return and recycling system then needs to be established and customers informed about it. Providing evidence of returned packaging quantities and how this packaging is recycled is also part of the Packaging Act.
ENNEATECH decided to place the return and recycling of packaging that comes onto the German market in the expert hands of ‘Gesellschaft zur Rückführung industrieller und gewerblicher Kunststoffverpackungen mbH’, or RIGK for short. Since it did so, all of Großefehn’s packaging has borne the RIGK logo; labels on invoices and delivery notes also provide information about RIGK membership. For ENNEATECH customers, this is a clear sign that they can return empty packaging to one of the nationwide RIGK collection points free of charge, without any complications. RIGK employees can find out where these are located by calling the free number 0800 3086003 or by visiting firstname.lastname@example.org.
ENNEATECH pays a licence fee for the RIGK system depending on the scope and type of packaging. This covers the cost of packaging returns, recycling and documentation. However, this is only for packaging used for non-hazardous goods – which is exactly what ENNEATECH products are. At the end of the year, the polyamide experts report the packaging they have placed on the market to RIGK and an independent body – an auditor, for example – certifies the quantities to be reported to the legislator.
RIGK works with a number of recycling companies to recycle packaging waste. Based on the packaging quantities and types reported to RIGK by ENNEATECH, RIGK calculates the CO2 savings achieved by recycling the packaging. ENNEATECH receives a climate certificate for these savings. In order to determine the CO2 savings, RIGK, together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology (UMSICHT), has drawn up a CO2 balance sheet for its return systems based on ISO standards 14040 and 14044.
By having its packaging returned and recycled through the RIGK system in accordance with the law, ENNEATECH ensures that the packaging materials used for its products do not end up any old place in Germany’s environment, and are instead returned to the recycling loop.