The 2023 edition of the minimum standard classifies films in which certain printing inks are used as non-recyclable.
Nitrocellulose (NC)-based printing inks used in intermediate printing have been classified as non-recyclable by the Central Packaging Register Office (ZSVR) in what is now the fifth "Minimum standard for assessing the recyclability of packaging subject to system participation in accordance with Section 21 of the Packaging Act," according to a report in Euwid. This change is pointed out by the IK Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen in a press release. According to the new minimum standard, the printing inks are said to impair the mechanical recycling process and can reduce the quality of recyclates. In addition, the ZSVR has already announced that it intends to extend the classification next year if necessary, according to the IK. According to the IK, the current change has so far only affected films made of polyethylene (PE) in a format larger than DIN A4. It does not apply to smaller PE films and PP films. Direct printing is also not affected. The new classification also has no influence on the marketability of PE films, emphasizes the Association of Plastic Packaging Manufacturers. "The minimum standard is aimed exclusively at the dual systems. It is - contrary to what is sometimes perceived - not a binding "design for recycling" guideline for industry," explains Dr. Isabell Schmidt, managing director of circular economy at the IK. Also financial disadvantages in the context of the participation fees with the dual systems were not to be expected at present, which could change however, if the Federal Government completes the announced reform of the paragraph 21 packing law.
The IK had wished for a more transparent procedure and the consideration of currently ongoing investigations at the European level in the amendment that has now been passed. The association recommends a description of the application markets for the secondary raw materials and the limiting quality requirements for each fraction in the minimum standard. For the classification of individual components as non-recyclable, the IK suggests that tests be carried out on the basis of test protocols. Furthermore, the IK considers it important to make public the recommendations of the expert group of industry affiliated to the ZSVR. With regard to the current change, the IK also suggests an early warning function or transition periods for adjustments in the minimum standard. "Even if the changes do not entail any legal consequences, companies that have declared the recyclability of their packaging to be a goal under the minimum standard will have to re-evaluate virtually overnight," says Schmidt. Switching to other ink systems would involve technical challenges and investments, she added.
- euwid-recycling.de (Sept. 4, 2023)
- PM IK (Sept. 5, 2023)
- Photo: © unsplash.com, Rebecca Bliklen