26. June 2019 | Recycling

Correctly mark degradable plastic carrier bags

The German federal environmental ministry (Bundesumweltministerium; BMU) has rejected the EU draft for marking biodegradable plastic carrier bags. "We are relieved that the BMU is on our side regarding this issue," commented Eric Rehbock, CEO of the German Federal Association for Secondary Raw Materials and Waste Management (Bundesverband Sekundärrohstoffe und Entsorgung; bvse), referring to the written response from Dr. Regina Dube, the relevant department head.

The EU Commission is currently working on marking that is to be used to identify biodegradable plastic shopping/carrier bags with a label indicating that they are suitable for industrial composting and potentially, composting by households.

Materials are not permitted for composting everywhere

In a letter to the coordinating entity, the German compost quality assurance organization (Bundesgütegemeinschaft Kompost), Dr. Dube expressly criticizes that the planned marking 'suggests' that these materials are legal to be composted in all of the Member States. However, this is not the case in Germany as well as other Member States. In addition, according to the current legal situation, the Member States are free to decide whether they want to recover and recycle biodegradable packaging together with organic waste.

According to the bvse, this critical statement ensured that the European Commission has withdrawn the draft proposal for now and will first evaluate the situation in the Member States.

edited by Christiane Lingrön

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