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September 2017

Landbell News
Landbell provides full transparency

Last week, Landbell opened the access for its DIHK portal to the scheme auditor and disclosed the results of a renewed voluntary audit of reported packaging volumes (Mengenprüfung).

Only permanent access to the DIHK Portal ensures that the scheme auditor can at any time and without any notice check the packaging volumes reported by the scheme to the DIHK, and thus to identify and quantify any deviations between those and the volumes reported to the clearing house. Equivalent volumes are to be registered both on the DIHK Portal and at the clearing house.

"Only by means of a continuous access to the database can a permanent alignment of the volume reports to the DIHK with those to the clearing house be ensured," says Dirk Staubach, Managing Director of Landbell GmbH. "When auditing only on specific valuation dates, quantities could potentially be “adjusted” before and after the check. This is precisely what we suspect as being one of the causes of the quantity deviations being discussed publically.” With this step, Landbell immediately fulfills a key requirement of the "new" clearing agreement (proposed by four schemes) – to be applied retroactively from 2016.

When the four packaging schemes BellandVision, Grüner Punkt, Interseroh and Reclay announced the disclosure of their data, Landbell’s quantities had already been validated by the scheme auditor. With the renewed data check on 13 September 2017, any adjusted customer volume reports were identified. For the lightweight packaging fraction (plastics and metal) as well as for the glass and paper fractions the deviations between the reports to the DIHK and the clearing house were less than 0.06 percent. Those quantities were recorded by the auditor and will be included into the supplementary volume report to the clearing house (including potential further changes by the customers) and is, thereby, contributing to the fair financing of the overall system.

Landbell urges all competitors to work constructively on a common solution instead of contributing to a permanent “blame game”.  Seeking to attribute blame is only discrediting the system as a whole and causes uncertainty among customers. Landbell is ready to sign a new clearing agreement as soon as it is authorized by the federal antitrust authority and ensures a proper clearing among all schemes. Only this will create legal certainty for customers.

"The current quality certifications offered by the four packaging schemes simply reflect the advice of the National Authority (Zentrale Stelle), which are part of the audit procedures anyway. They offer no further legal certainty to the customer while they are, of course, supported by us in terms of content,” adds Dirk Staubach.

Find here our press releases on German:
Landbell schafft schon heute vollständige Transparenz
Landbell, Veolia und Zentek kündigen aktuelle Clearingverträge
Das duale System in Gefahr

Landbell Austria and ERP Österreich become ERP Austria

Landbell Austria GmbH and ERP Österreich GmbH are merging. As such and effective immediately, the take-back services of the Landbell Group in Austria will be unified and organised as part of the European Recycling Platform (ERP). The three material flows – packaging, electrical appliances, and used batteries – will thereby be brought together under one roof. The resulting new company is called the European Recycling Platform Austria GmbH.

The competences and experiences of the two companies can now be bundled even better. In addition, the merger gives Landbell Austria customers access to the global and transnational services of the pan-European company ERP. Existing contracts will be transferred automatically to the new company.  

Find here our German press release

Our new information platform explaining the new German Packaging Act

As a responsibly acting partner, Landbell is fulfilling its role of informing stakeholders affected by the Packaging Act of their upcoming legal obligations by providing them with comprehensive but targeted information. To that end and among other activities, we have created a dedicated portal with an overview of the most important provisions of the Packaging Act and Packaging Ordinance highlighting key changes for producers and distributors triggered by this legislation that will be enforced from January 2019.  

One of the most important changes is the creation of a new national authority – the Zentrale Stelle. For more details and background, we’ve added an interview with Ms Rachut, Chairperson of the Stiftung Zentrale Stelle Verpackungsregister (Foundation Zentrale Stelle Packaging Register) to this portal. In the interview, Ms Rachut explains why there’s a Zentrale Stelle, how it will work, and how it will be structured. She also discusses the current hot topic of missing volume and her vision for the future of German packaging recovery.

You can find our new platform here.
You can read the Interview with Ms Rachut on German here

Landbell GmbH has a new online face

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new website. With a new structure and completely revised design, we aim to provide our visitors with a user-friendly and contemporary web presence. Our services are now visible at a glance, and the appropriate contact persons are easy to find.

The content, too, has changed. We’ve integrated a page for solutions specifically targeting Online Retailers, since the online world is not spared from the legal obligations.

We warmly invite you to explore our new web presence and eagerly await your feedback.

You can find our website here.

The 2017 Green Alley Award: it’s start-up time in the circular economy

The application period for the 2017 Green Alley Award is over, and we’re excited to review the more than 200 entries received from 43 countries. The response confirms the trend of recent years: more and more founders are interested in the circular economy.

Landbell launched the Green Alley Award in 2014 in order to promote the development of a start-up ecosystem in the recycling industry and to close the gap between research, science, and the market.

Our jury of experts is currently reviewing applications. By mid-October, they’ll select the best ideas and business models for the final live pitch in Berlin on 9 November.

The winner of the 2017 Green Alley Award will receive a prize of cash and non-cash benefits worth up to 30,000 euros. The award also provides valuable access to expertise as well as the opportunity to tap Green Alley’s experience and contacts – which will help the winner to successfully start or develop their business model in the market. 

Visit the Green Alley Award website here.

What you need to know
Trialogue negotiations on the circular economy package continue

The summer break is over, and the next round of negotiations on the circular economy package is underway in the European Commission, European Council, and European Parliament. In the coming two weeks, the first technical discussions are on the agenda, before the next official trialogue session is held on 26 September.

In the talks before the summer break, the main topics were waste hierarchy, food waste, by-products, and the non-waste status of materials. This round, a focus will be manufacturers’ expanded responsibilities.

Since the trialogue negotiations began in late May, the three institutions have been searching for a compromise for the redesign of Europe’s circular economy. The goal of the four legislative proposals under discussion is to “close the loop” by strengthening recycling and consequently a more sustainable use of scarce resources. 

The Landbell Group will continue to monitor the process closely, providing support to the European institutions based on its experience in 15 countries with a total of 34 take-back systems for WEEE, batteries, and packaging.

The EU Commission is planning standardised rules for WEEE registers 

In accordance with its mandate from the WEEE Directive (Article 15 Paragraph 3), the European Commission is working to harmonise the registration and reporting requirements for manufacturers and distributors of electrical and electronic equipment. The format and frequency of the corresponding data reports are to be standardised. The goal of this harmonisation is to reduce bureaucracy and ensure a smooth data exchange between member states. 

According to Article 16 of the WEEE Directive, all manufacturers and distributors of electrical and electronic equipment must be listed in a register maintained by the member states. Whether or not manufacturers are complying with their legal obligations will be determined on the basis of this register and the reported volumes of products placed on the market and old devices taken back and recycled. Currently, different data is being requested at different frequencies in the member states, as documented in a European Commission study, which you can find in PDF format here.

The Commission’s proposals for standardising the registration and reporting obligations are currently being discussed with selected stakeholders. Before the so-called “Draft implementing regulation establishing the format for registration and reporting and the frequency of reporting” can go into effect on 1 January 2019, formal approval by the member states is required.

The European Recycling Platform (ERP), part of the Landbell Group, will participate in the anticipated stakeholder consultation and thereby share its experience and that of its customers with WEEE take-back schemes in 15 countries.

Uncertainty caused by China’s import ban 

The plans of the People’s Republic of China to impose an import ban on certain waste have triggered uncertainty in the waste sector. Critics fear negative impacts on the international trade in secondary raw materials and high financial losses for recycling companies due to the disappearance of sales markets and thus revenue streams.

China, the world’s second largest economy, announced in a letter to the World Trade Organization (WTO) that starting next year, it would stop importing certain plastic waste, residues, waste paper, and slag arising from steel production. The decision is a response to the huge amount of waste exported to China in recent years, which has caused considerable environmental problems in the country.

Studies and publications
Digitisation can advance the circular economy 

In a position paper called “The digital transformation paves the way for resource-efficient material cycles,” researchers at the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy have shown that the flow of materials and information can be more efficiently coordinated through new digital technologies. This would increase the share of recycled raw materials and lead to more environmentally friendly waste disposal. The researchers have also identified other advantages of combining digitisation and recycling; supply and demand for waste or secondary raw materials, for example, could be easily coordinated via an automated market and logistics platform.  

There is still a long way to go, however, due to existing information deficits in the networking of industry, waste management, and companies that must be dismantled. To support that process, the authors of the paper are working on a competency paper titled “Circular Economy Literacy,” which focusses especially on issues related to support for small and medium-sized companies and highlights the progress made so far in the digital circular economy.

The research team has also recommended the definition of indicators to help identifying potentials and implementing circular economy business models.

You can find the paper in PDF format here.

The Landbell Group introduces itself
Interview with Jürgen Fuchs, International Key Account Manager, Landbell Group

Mr Fuchs, what is your job at the Landbell Group?
I currently work as International Key Account Manager, having previously managed national key accounts for our company. My job is very exciting because it’s so versatile and involves a lot of investigative work and interesting discussions. Yes, business is done between companies, but personal contact will always remain an important component.

What are your more important responsibilities and challenges?
The challenge lies in two areas. On the one hand, the environments in which our products operate are very competitive; on the other, it is both a responsibility and a challenge to identify our customer needs and the ways in which we can help them with our products and services. I always find it exciting to discover that the most important information in customer conversations is often hidden in the subtext.

How did you end up at the Landbell Group?
I’m trained as a public administration specialist, an education that usually leads to a job as a municipal public servant. I opted for the private sector instead and have never regretted it. After working several years as export manager for a well-known confectionary company, I spent six years working for the then monopolistic dual system before joining Landbell AG in 2007. As Key Account Manager, I took over the supervision – since 2014 on a global basis – of various well-known brand manufacturers.

What do you do for the environment in your private life?
In my professional life, my basic knowledge is about what to recycle, what to dispose, and where. But I also apply that to my private life, the same way I’d provide customers with a better understanding of the issue. And I often question little things – throwing a candy wrapper out the window, for example, is an absolute no. I also think that improving awareness about the environment is better than admonishing people, which tends to elicit a defiant response.

Did you know that... ?
What supermarkets do for the circular economy

Being conscious of sustainability and the circular economy is growing in more and more sectors and is now part of many companies’ strategy – including supermarkets.

Most notably, REWE has done away with plastic bags in its stores in order to curb the plastic bag frenzy in Germany, which uses 6.1 billion plastic bags annually. As an alternative, the supermarket is offering cotton bags, paper bags, shopping cartons, tote bags, and shopping bags. Lidl, Penny, and Aldi have followed REWE’s lead, demonstrating once again that the behaviour of one player can move other market participants to a more sustainable solution.

Even if these steps are small, they make clear that the circular economy has arrived in practice. A further example of that is provided by the retailer Netto, which is currently testing lasered product labels for fruit and vegetables in order to reduce packaging. In this process, the label is not printed onto packaging or a sticker, as usual, but rather applied directly onto the product via laser.

Drinkable milk capsules – au revoir to plastic containers!

A team at Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg is developing dissolvable milk capsules to replace the existing containers made of plastic and aluminium. The scientists estimate that in the airline industry alone, the traditional containers produce 3,800 tonnes of plastic waste annually.

The so-called “milk capsules” offer an environmentally friendly alternative. The scientists have developed a solution of milk and sugar that is poured into a mould. As this cools, the excess sugar migrates to the edge of the liquid, allowing a milk-sugar solution to fill up the interior. The resulting milk capsule can be placed directly into a cup of coffee, where it then dissolves. It is more environmentally friendly than the current containers because no packaging is used and no drops of milk are wasted when the container is opened. In addition, it can be stored at room temperature and has a shelf life of at least three weeks.

So far, the capsules are available in two different concentrations of sweetness, though neither is yet market-ready.

Picture Copyright @MDR/Luise Kotulla

17 - 21 October 2017
Fakuma - Internationale Fachmesse für Kuntsstoffverarbeitung, Germany

18 October 2017
Recyclable Packaging 2017, United Kindom

18 - 19 October 2017
6. Ressourceneffizienz- und Kreislaufwirtschaftskongress, Germany

20 - 21 October 2017
Cradle to Cradle Congress, Germany

30 October 2017
REB Summit 2017, United Kingdom

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Landbell AG für Rückhol-Systeme
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