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6. Cologne Packaging Forum

October 8, 2012

“From the Packaging Ordinance to the new German Recycling Act:” The industry topic of the year was at the centre of attention of the Reclay Group’s 6th Cologne Packaging Forum on October 8, 2012. The various positions and interests of the political protagonists involved at the Federal, Land and Communal levels were impressively presented and discussed. The second focus of the day was the evaluation of industry solutions by the “bifa Umweltinstitut” [bifa Environmental Institute].

Raffael A. Fruscio, Managing Director of the Reclay Group, welcomed the attending environmental and waste management experts as well as customers and interested persons in the full Rhine Hall of the Cologne Hyatt Regency Hotel. In his speech, he emphasised Germany’s pioneering role in the recycling field, which is recognised internationally almost more than at home. The on-going internationalisation of the Reclay Group, and the associated demand to carry Germany’s excellent know-how out into the world, were thus the next logical steps. “Anyone today who does not venture a look beyond country borders has missed the sign of the times,” Fruscio summarised.

  • Raffael A. Fruscio
  • MinDir. Dr. Thomas Rummler
  • Dr. Thomas Gäckle
  • Detlef Raphael
  • Thomas Buch
  • Dr. Fritz Flanderka
  • Prof. Dr. Heinz Riesenhuber
  • Bernhard Gerstmayer
  • Dr. Christian Keri

The kick-off into the trade lectures was taken over by Dr. Thomas Rummler, assistant head of the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Reactor Safety. His talk titled “On the Way to a Valuable Materials Act – Salient Points, Points at Issue, Crunch Points” described the state of the matter and the requirements and hindrances that must be fulfilled and overcome for the new Recyling Act to be passed. It was clear that extreme positions on this interest-laden topic would not be able to gain a majority and that only a consensus would be able to win in the end.

Subsequently, Dr. Thomas Gäckle, Head of the “Raw Materials Policy” Subdivision in the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, brought the raw-materials political dimension of the Recycling Act into focus. Similar to the raw materials strategy of the German Federal Government, the German Federal Ministry of the Interior would greet the process of introducing a valuable materials container.

Thomas Buch from the Land Environmental Ministry NRW presented the view held by the German Lands. He pointed out the problems in enforcing the Packaging Ordinance, which is why the NRW Environmental Ministry was advocating for fundamentally reworking the Packaging Ordinance into a Recycling Act.

This was followed by the discourse of Detlef Raphael, Councillor of the German Cities’ Assembly. In his speech titled “Requirements for the Introduction of a Valuable Materials Container from the Perspective of the Communities,” he spoke in favour of a communal responsibility for the valuable materials container.

The subsequent Podium Discussion with the Speakers of the morning, clearly brought the differences between private economy interests and public/governmental interests into the light, and turned out be an exciting closing to the first part of the 6th Cologne Packaging Forum.

The afternoon was kicked off by Prof. Dr. Heinz Riesenhuber, MP and retired federal minister, and chairman of the advisory board of the Reclay Group. In his impressive welcoming speech, he raised the discussion on sustainability, recycling, environmental technology and preservation of raw materials a level higher, and emphasised the necessity of a functioning overall strategy that would successfully link the economical and ecological aspects with each other. “If we as pioneer in Germany fail with this overall strategy, the idea of worldwide sustainability would be damaged,” Riesenhuber appealed to all attending to successfully solve this complex task by working together.

Afterword, Bernhard Gerstmayer from the “bifa Umweltinstitut” presented first results of the investigation of the ecological and economical importance of industry solutions. The “bifa Umweltinstitut” has been commissioned by the Reclay Group to establish an objectifying comparison of industry solutions and dual system as a sound basis for discussions with officials and other professions.

A look at the situation in the neighbouring country Austria was provided by Dr. Christian Keri, Managing Director of Reclay Österreich GmbH. He explained the status quo of the amendment process of the Packaging Ordinance in Austria, and the possible opening up of the market with regard to household packaging.

At the conclusion of the 6th Cologne Packaging Forum Dr. Fritz Flanderka spoke about the current developments in North and South America, where legal and commercial initiatives are focusing more and more on the topic of recycling, and on possibly adopting the systems that have proven themselves in Germany and Europe.

At the concluding Get Together, the attendees passed in review over the topics of the day. The general conclusion was: this had been an important, exciting and first-class event at which topical and explosive questions had been discussed openly and enthusiastically.

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