Which packaging can you recycle

Which plastic can be recycled?

Status: 04/20/2018 3:29 p.m. | archive

In a self-experiment, Markt author Uwe Leiterer has already done without sugar and meat. Now he wants to find out whether he can live without plastic - and how doing without it affects his health. Uwe reports on his experiences in the blog every week.

by Uwe Leiterer

If you want to avoid plastic, you should take a closer look at the recycling chains for our plastic waste. Because in most cases one cannot speak of recycling at all. So it is hardly surprising that the Federal Government's Council for Sustainability only determines a recycling rate of 36 percent for plastic packaging. The rest is burned or, in a few cases, landed on landfill.

Plastic recycling problems

If several plastics stick to one another, for example hard plastic bowls with a soft lid, there is a problem: the automatic sorting systems cannot classify the plastic waste. Because only pure plastic can be recycled. Plastic with stapled paper or metal cannot be recycled. For example, a yogurt pot with an aluminum lid cannot be recycled unless the metal is removed. Black plastic is also often not recognized in sorting systems.

Hard to recycle beverage cartons

Recycling does not turn used beverage cartons into new beverage cartons, but rather other materials with inferior properties. It is similar with so-called light packaging material.

Because beverage cartons like the widespread Tetrapaks are not only made of cardboard, but also of plastic-coated aluminum, a plastic outer skin and a plastic pouring spout. Separating the different materials is extremely time-consuming and therefore usually not worthwhile: It is usually cheaper to simply burn the beverage cartons.

Recycling in PET packaging

There is "real" recycling in plastic packaging made of PET (polyethylene terephthalate). Above all, beverage bottles are made from the plastic. 95 percent of PET waste is turned back into PET. However, food packaging may not be made from the recycled granulate - but tents, rain jackets or gloves can.

A week of failure

If you want to reduce your packaging waste, you should do it on vacation. Otherwise the project is only suitable for people who have a lot of free time. This week I had the pleasure of producing a film about gardening tips with market presenter Jo Hiller. The bitter consequence for my family: Because I didn't have time to shop plastic-free, we had to live from canned food,

And when things have to be done quickly in the supermarket, mistakes happen. Out of habit I tore off a plastic bag at the fruit stand and filled it with apples. I also only got the ink cartridges for my youngest daughter in plastic. To relieve me, my wife did the shopping at the weekend - and came back with three plastic packages. She only noticed it at the checkout.

It became clear to me: I have to approach life without plastic with precise logistical planning. This week I'll try plastic-free shopping at the weekly market in Hamburg-Bahrenfeld

Life without plastic: can it work?

Markt author Uwe Leiterer tries out a life without plastic in a self-experiment. Is it possible to dispense with packaging waste? And how does it affect health? more

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Market | 04/16/2018 | 8:15 pm