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VKU ... nothing new

Cologne, 11.04.2014

Yesterday in Berlin, the VKU (Association of Municipal Companies) gave a high-profile presentation on a study examining the deficits of the Green Dot system (presumably the packaging disposal system organised by the private sector) and once again called for the dual systems to be scrapped and for everything to be handed over the local authorities to take care of. Nothing new there then. This demand is allegedly backed up by a Forsa survey claiming that 62 per cent of study respondents incorrectly assumed that local authorities were already in charge of disposing of packaging. Once informed that this was not the case, 59 per cent apparently called for legal responsibility to be returned to the local authorities. Very strange indeed! If the first part of the survey suggests, as it appears to, that the general public are very satisfied with the private sector system, then the second part doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. But then again, it is probably not meant to be understood. What is more, it is only mentioned in passing that the expert opinion being presented had nothing whatsoever to do with abolishing the dual systems. OK, such things can be glossed over at a press conference. What cannot be glossed over, however, is the fact that, at yesterday’s press conference, the VKU still did not answer the most important questions of all: how the system is to be implemented and financed by the local authorities. We have therefore taken it upon ourselves to recycle a old piece from “Upfront!” and present the VKU once again with the most important questions as we see them. For the sake of simplicity, we are also providing the answers:

How will the local authorities finance this system?

The dual systems are supposedly too costly. We won’t bother mentioning the sector examination by the Federal Cartel Office right now. But we are eager to find out how the local authorities are planning to not only keep the prices at the same level, but even reduce them without any competition. It seems that over the past 10 years the private system operators have been too stupid to provide the necessary source of funds. Incidentally: the 140 million euros of subsidiary charges that the systems pay every year to the local authorities will unfortunately be lost as well.

Why haven’t the municipal companies lowered their prices before?

The system is supposedly too expensive. It’s just strange that the municipal waste disposal companies also increased their prices significantly for all areas in the last call for tenders. But don’t worry: the dual systems are the ones who have to deal with it all. You can threaten to abolish them straight after they announce their price increase. The association is the right place to go for this, of course.

Are the local authorities at all in a position to handle the packaging disposal?

The dual systems are supposedly too inefficient. We admit that nobody works more efficiently, dynamically and innovatively than the local authorities. Their specialised knowledge of recycling could be experienced over recent years: in the waste incineration plants. And the experts needed for more than a billion disposal processes per year? No problem – they’re sure to find somebody suitable in their offices somewhere. And if they happen to need some extra staff: several thousand people will lose their jobs if the dual systems are closed down, so there’s sure to be a few experts among them.

What will happen with the waste incineration plants that can no longer work to capacity?

The current recycling quota of 75% is supposedly too low. It’s just a shame that the local authorities can no longer get their lucrative plants to work to capacity any longer because material recycling is increasing. Our recommendation: dismantle them and sell them abroad. Unless you just use the valuable packaging as filler material for the waste incineration plants.

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