During a discussion session titled “#PreThink: Kreislaufwirtschaft jetzt! Kommt die Verpackungswende 2022?” (EN: #PreThink: Circular economy now! Is the packaging turnaround coming in 2022?) held on Wednesday at IFAT 2022 in Munich, high-profile participants from science, politics and civil society explored the opportunities and challenges for a packaging turnaround. “We want politicians to provide incentive systems for recycling-friendly product design and increased use of recycled materials, so that we can work together with all stakeholders to launch the packaging turnaround,” urged Thomas Kyriakis, CEO of PreZero. The discussion is part of a series of events and already the second dialogue format that PreZero has hosted together with WWF.
The participants agreed that the CO2 reduction targets and the wasteful use of the planet’s finite resources make the shift to a circular economy more pressing than ever. “We’ve reached a critical point: What happens in the next ten years will determine the future of our planet,” said Dr. Martin Bethke of WWF Germany, summing up the situation. But according to Kyriakis, the continuing trend towards to-go products, booming online sales, and increasing demand for smaller portion sizes present real challenges. “Germany still consumes an excessive amount of raw materials while simultaneously failing to keep them in the loop,” added Prof. Dr. Christina Dornack from the TU Dresden.
So, how can we successfully bring about this packaging turnaround? From the perspective of the WWF and PreZero, further development of minimum standards for recyclability and the restriction of composite materials are key. At the same time, minimum quotas for the use of PCR recyclates and common European standards and norms should be introduced. Thomas Kyriakis expressly applauded the stance of the new German government, which intends to set a decisive course for the circular economy. According to him, the coalition agreement is a good basis for realizing the transformation towards more recycling and closed material loops for packaging. This is where PreZero wants to contribute its know-how as a partner.
Last year, the environmental service provider supported and accompanied WWF Germany in their study: “Verpackungswende jetzt! So gelingt der Wandel zu einer Kreislaufwirtschaft für Kunststoffe in Deutschland” (EN: „Pathways to a circular plastic packaging system in Germany“). At the beginning of 2022, the two partners published a joint impulse paper to politicians aimed at improving the circular economy of packaging with a view to recycling. The long-standing collaboration with WWF to protect the oceans is just one example of how PreZero fulfills its responsibility as a driver of the circular economy. PreZero also wants to actively contribute to new sustainability standards in the Bundesliga and, among other things, is developing innovative solutions as the official waste disposal partner of the Allianz Arena. For Jürgen Muth, CEO of the Allianz Arena, this cooperation is a great lever: “Our events at the Allianz Arena bring together several million people every year. We want to use innovative approaches to engage them in environmental protection and resource conservation.”