A world without packaging waste: “50 percent less plastic” is the worst idea ever


Sebastian Krol dreams of a world without waste. But we still have a long way to go, even if the German recycling system is already “state-of-the-art”, says the head of the waste service provider. Interzero i “Climate Laboratory” explained ntv Just for now 60 percent of all packaging waste processed. But the local Dutchman is convinced that a full circular economy is possible with the right materials – if the packaging industry and food retailers follow a simple rule of thumb when designing new packaging: the more homogeneous the packaging material, the easier it is to recycle. This applies at least to areas where packaging is essential. Because “the best way to avoid waste is to prevent it in the first place,” says a recycling expert. Then it remains to drive users out of “smart mistakes”.

ntv.de: You and Interzero have the same vision a world without waste. How does it work?

Sebastiaan Krol: We are currently experiencing two things. On the one hand, thank God, we are moving away from the basic idea of ​​a linear economy. I think it’s very positive that most people have realized that we can’t continue as we have for the last 20, 30 or even 50 years, but we need a circular economy. This circularity occurs precisely when you prevent the object from becoming trash in the first place. With so many product and material flows, you can already see that in the end nothing gets thrown away and some form of reuse takes place, whether you recycle or recycle. This is what we stand for.

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And this way you can finally avoid garbage?

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Dutch-born Sebastiaan Krol took over the management of ALBA Services Holding (ASH) in 2022. at the beginning The engineer now leads Interzero Circular Solutions (ICS) as CEO.

(Photo: Interzero)

We believe this is possible with a few exceptions. Of course, there is still very hazardous waste around the world and things that are not necessarily suitable for recycling. But if you look at the types of capital goods that the world generally produces, you can put a very large proportion of them into circulation.

But do consumers still need to dispose of and recycle waste at home? Or maybe the goal is to eliminate the need for garbage bags?

Both. Many people forget this, but the best way to avoid litter is to prevent it from occurring. If this is not possible, at the end of its life see if you can reuse it in some way. It’s only when those two possibilities are ruled out that you move on to the third point and think: How can I recycle this? Of course, to avoid thermal processing. This is not the case in a circular economy. We are not here to fuel burning devices.

But how is this supposed to work in a supermarket? Almost everything we put in the shopping cart is packaged. Sometimes even fruits and vegetables. Fresh goods such as sausage.

For many products, there are enough options to buy them unpackaged. This is the royal road. Then you just don’t have to bring anything with you. From 2023 January 1 there is also a new legal requirement for takeaway food offered in reusable packaging You need to become

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such as coffee?

Exactly. Coffee or usually a salad bar or sliced ​​pineapple. Sausage is not one of them, but even with those foods that need to be packaged, it’s ultimately pretty simple: make sure the packaging is easy to recycle. Plastic can be recycled very well if you do it wisely. This is a shared responsibility between us and the food industry. It is then up to the user to ensure that they are properly separated. From my point of view, if they do that, everything that needs to be done to remove it organically is done.

Looks like we’re on the right track. In general, the amount of garbage is still frightening. How far are we with this vision of a world without waste?

I’m always an outspoken and no-nonsense friend. What we are doing here and now in Germany is “modernity”. When it comes to sorting and recycling, we use the absolute maximum. However, these recycling processes have technical limitations…

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