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What are the ways to reduce packaging waste?

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As per the reports by umwelt bundesamt,

The amount of packaging waste generated annually ranged from 13.6 to 18.9 million tonnes (million tonnes) per year in Germany. In 2018 and 2019, the volume of packaging waste rose to its highest ever level of 18.9 million tonnes.

Reasons for the increase are:-

  • Living conditions of German citizens.
  • The needs of consumers are changing.
  • The proportion of one- and two-person households, as well as seniors, is increasing.

packaging is now increasingly taking on functions such as:

  • Dosing function,
  • portioning function,
  • Retention function and
  • Handling function.

In 2017, Food, beverages, and pet food altogether accounted for 62.3% of packaging consumption by private end consumers.

Mail order has increased significantly in recent years. This has an increasing effect on packaging consumption if:

  1. in addition to the primary packaging, further shipping packaging is used,
  2. whose weight is higher than the shipping packaging in the retail trade (per sales unit)
  3. and this is not compensated by the omission of carrier bags.

18.9 million tonnes of packaging waste were generated in 2019 in Germany. 71.6% of packaging waste went into recycling in 2019.

The reason for the increase in the recycling of packaging is due to the demanding requirements of the Packaging Act.

Different ways to reduce packaging waste are:-

  • Tap water is usually available in very good quality, so from waste prevention and environmental point of view, tap water is preferable to bottled water.
  • For beverages, reusable bottles perform particularly well in regional cycles, as transport-related environmental pollution is also reduced. 
  • Many plastic bags can be avoided if bags or baskets are taken before shopping. 
  • Frequently drink a coffee-to-go, use your reusable cup or use reusable cup systems.
  • Fruits and vegetables should be purchased in bulk.
  • For shopping for loose food, such as fruit and vegetables, and also for the entire purchase, reusable bags and pouches are available.
  • Companies offer reusable boxes or the option to bring their reusable containers to the fresh food counter.
  • Refill bags, for example for soaps or cleaning agents, also reduce the volume of packaging. 
  • Select reusable packaging when shopping online. 
  • Try low-packaging shopping.
  • Regional foods in reusable packaging to avoid waste and support regional suppliers.
  • Conscious decision to sit in the cafĂ©, restaurant, or bakery to eat and drink to reduce waste.
  • Use reusable coffee to-go cups or use your coffee cups to refill them.
  • Disposable mail order packaging in distance selling and dispose of it after one use.
EU recycling requirements

In 1994, the European Union (EU) adopted the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (Packaging Directive),

  • By 31.12.2025, at least 65% of all packaging waste must be recycled. 
  • By 31.12.2030, the recycling rate for all packaging will rise to 70%.

In my opinion, every country should think about the ways and adopt them in a subtle way so as to get citizens to be aware of their daily habits. As well as the pros and cons of adopting an environmentally friendly way of lifestyle.

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