Report for Germany
Overall market developments are positive and the plastics value chain remains intact, and so the industry continues to be generally stable. Despite the government cap on energy costs, there is still a lack of orders, especially in the furniture and construction industries. The outlook therefore remains subdued.
Germany’s Federal Council has approved the draft law for a special levy on single-use plastic packaging. Thus, from 2024, manufacturers will have to register and, from 2025, will have to pay the levy into a fund in accordance with the volume of single-use plastic products placed on the market. This fund is then to be used to reimburse the costs of cleaning public areas in Germany’s municipalities and cities.
The final framework will be confirmed at the end of this year through an ordinance of the Federal Ministry for the Environment.
Leading plastic industry associations have once again commissioned consulting firm Conversio Market & Strategy GmbH to conduct a study into plastic flows in Germany (this study has provided life-cycle data every two years since 1994). The most important findings are, on the one hand, that the plastics industry remains very stable overall despite many critical voices. Closing the loop is the central theme; while there are good approaches, the plastics industry still has a long way to go given that around half of the plastic waste ends up in mixed plastic waste streams for which no further recycling is planned.
Other changes from the 2019 study include a halt to the decline in plastic production (replaced by an increase of 4%) and continuously good demand for plastic. Furthermore, recycling of plastic packaging showed an increase of 300,000 tons while exports of plastic waste to non-EU countries declined massively once again. Nevertheless, only a third of plastic waste is recycled, with the rest going into thermal recovery or for use as substitute fuel. It is therefore important to expand plastics recycling and to promote the use of recyclates.