Recycling & disposal
What is the best way to dispose greenbox (bio) disposable packages? What does “the article is certified to be compostable“ mean? Do bioplastics really compose in nature without releasing harmful substances? How does the settlement with the Dual System work? We totally understand these thoughts. For this reason, we have prepared some information concerning the topic disposal. If you have any further questions, we will be pleased to answer them.
Used packaging: residual waste or recycling?
Even though it might sounds odd: both options are possible. The recovery of recycling waste (Yellow Bag, Yellow Bin or collecting containers for packaging) is regulated by the Dual System. Companies in the recycling economy take care of the collection, sorting and material- optimized utilization of sales and disposable packaging. In reality, however, not everything that is correctly disposed in the recycling waste is going to be recycled. Actually, a multitude of recycling waste is pressed into waste pallets. Amongst others, these pallets will serve as fuel in the industry. In the end, a great part of recycling waste is also burned, just like residual waste.
Currently, thermal utilization of articles, which are made from vegetable resources, is still the most ecological and reasonable utilization. Thereby, the waste is also used as a source of energy and reduces the fossil greenhouse gases that are generated during the burning. Only the amount of CO2 that was absorbed during the growth of the plant is released into the atmosphere.
Are bioplastic packages recyclable?
Yes, bioplastics such as PLA are completely recyclable. A study by the Frauenhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging proves that bioplastics can be correctly separated from petroleum-based plastics in the sorting process. At the moment, the homogenous separation of disposed bioplastics is not economically profitable because the amounts are too small. According to the Federal Environment Ministry, about 2,6 million tons of conventional plastic packages are consumed in Germany every year. In contrast, only 0,3 - 0,5% of all packages are made of bio-based plastics. But if the volume of bioplastics increases in the future, we will eventually reach a point where the separation of conventional and bio-based plastics becomes more interesting to the recycling and waste management industry. Until then, thermal utilization is the most reasonable utilization for bioplastics.
Is bioplastic really biodegrable?
Yes. In comparison to petroleum-based plastics, bio-based plastics such as polylactic acid (PLA) completely compose in nature within a very short period. Except for natural organic base substances, no residual toxic materials such as inorganic or chlorine-hydrogen compounds remain. In the next paragraph, we will explain why we still advise against the disposal via the organic waste.
Does compostable packaging belong into the organic waste?
The bio-icon for DIN 13432 frequently appears in our article descriptions. This means that the article is certified to be compostable and decomposes into defined residues within 90 days in an industrial composting facility. However, many composting facilities work in a shorter cycle, to some extent only in a six-week cycle. Correspondingly, organic waste has only half of the time to decompose into its components and its fragments are yet too big for recycling. Due to the comparatively small amount of completely compostable packages and disposable tableware, a separated sorting and delivery to composting facilities is neither ecologically nor economically worthwhile.
Although composting seems to be the best utilization because nature is transformed into nature, it is currently not the most appropriate solution for compostable packaging. Even the composting in an industrial facility again requires energy and the whole process consumes resources. For these reasons, we advise you to also toss compostable packages into the recycling waste.
A few words about the Dual System
The Dual System Germany (DSD) consists of a number of companies that are paid by distributors of sales and disposable packages for the proper disposal and recycling of packaging waste. A packaging distributor is a person or company that delivers filled packages to the customers. The license fees payable to the DSD are based on the material and weight of the packaging. The recycling industry works profit-oriented and yet, packaging recycling in Germany is oriented towards petroleum-based plastics which still incur in big and increasing amounts. It is obvious that private and municipal disposal and recycling companies still have to adapt themselves to bio-based packaging and plastics. This is a process that gathered momentum with the amendment of the Packaging Ordinance in 2009 but has not yet been completed in its implementation. If the amount of bio-based plastics increases in mass flow, the cost-effectiveness of recycling and the recovery chain of bioplastics will develop positively.
How can you settle with the Dual System?
We welcome to support you, the distributor of greenbox packaging, in the settlement with the Dual System. If you like, we directly settle your incurred license fees with or partner Interseroh. Just contact us!