Status report on the circular economy in Germany

The circular economy is increasingly developing into an important branch of industry in Germany. Both turnover and the number of employees in the industry continue to grow significantly. This is shown in the „Status Report on the Circular Economy in Germany 2020“ presented a few weeks ago. 15 associations, organisations and companies, including PlasticsEurope Deutschland, BDE and bvse, were involved in preparing the report, which provides information on the current status across all materials and waste fractions.

Important topics include the high potential of the circular economy in terms of resource conservation, climate protection and energy turnaround as well as for economic efficiency and innovative strength.

The complete report as well as the most important key points can be downloaded from the specially created website at https://statusbericht-kreislaufwirtschaft.de/.

German government must lead the way in the EU renovation wave

A few weeks ago, 48 associations, including the AGPU, appealed in an open letter to the German government to support the implementation of the EU Commission’s Renovation Wave Strategy during the German EU Council Presidency and to make use of European investment support for energy-related building renovation in Germany.

Even though demand for energy-efficient renovation in Germany has risen noticeably thanks to improved subsidy conditions: The current level is not sufficient to achieve the energy and climate targets. „The energy-related modernisation of buildings is a triple benefit: for the climate, for the economy and for all people in Europe, who will thus be provided with future-proof and modern living and working space. Germany is in a good starting position to set a good example in Europe now and herald a real wave of renovation,“ said Christian Noll of the German Energy Efficiency Initiative (DENEFF).

The topic of the Renovation Wave Strategy will also be a focus of the upcoming PVC workshop of PlasticsEurope Deutschland and AGPU in January 2021. Modern PVC products in the construction sector are already helping to achieve these goals. Thanks to the EU action plan, these products should now be even more in the focus of construction decision-makers. The VinylPlus® Product Label for sustainable PVC building products will also contribute to this.

BPIE paper on the Renovation Wave Strategy

In mid-October the EU Commission presented the „Renovation Wave Strategy“, a comprehensive action plan to improve the energy efficiency of buildings. The aim is to double the rate of renovation by 2030 and thus achieve better energy and resource efficiency in existing buildings. In order to achieve this goal, around 35 million buildings across Europe are to be renovated for energy efficiency over the next ten years.

The building sector in its current structure contributes significantly to the generation of CO2 emissions. Buildings account for around 40 percent of energy consumption in Europe. In addition, only one percent of the building stock is currently being renovated for energy efficiency every year.

The Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE) prepared an initial summary and analysis of the most important key points. According to the experts, it is not enough to simply double the rate of renovation. In order to achieve the Green Deal’s target of climate neutrality by 2050, the rate must be increased significantly. The BPIE paper speaks of a tenfold increase. Moreover, not only the necessary legislative procedures in the EU member states, but also the existing (if any) support programmes would have to be considerably expanded.

European PVC industry: New 2030 sustainability programme

VinylPlus®, the Voluntary Commitment to sustainable development of the European PVC industry, brought together over 180 participants from 24 countries at the virtual VinylPlus Sustainability Forum (VSF) #CIRCULARVINYL in mid-October. The successful event showcased the united PVC industry’s major achievements and plans to build the new sustainability programme towards 2030.

Kirsi Ekroth-Manssila, Head of Unit at DG GROW, praised the “commitment and the proactive role” of VinylPlus in the Circular Plastics Alliance, stating, “VinylPlus is a perfect example of how to make the Circular Economy a reality, being the first value chain in 2001 to take on the challenge of transforming a problem into an opportunity. In addressing the environmental concerns of PVC, VinylPlus and the industry came up with an ambitious and forward-looking approach: to organise, cooperate and communicate with the whole value chain, from the producer to the downstream user and the waste manager.”

The event was not only a recognition of the PVC value chain’s achievements but an opportune moment to discuss and give feedback on the new 2030 sustainability programme, currently in development. The conversation built on an external stakeholder consultation carried out by Accenture on key sustainability drivers, and challenges and opportunities for the PVC industry to respond to over the next decade.

WissenWERT: PVC Roofing and Waterproofing Membranes

In July we have mentioned the incorrect reporting of PVC sealing membranes in the member magazine of the German Association for Water Management, Sewage and Waste. The AGPU, together with experts from member companies, prepared a detailed fact check and made it available to the author, the editorial team and the association for correction of the article.

The AGPU has additionally published a double-page information sheet in German entitled „WissenWERT: PVC-Dach- und Dichtungsbahnen“ (Worth Knowing: PVC roofing and waterproofing membranes). It was created in close cooperation with the respective experts and provides a good overview with the most important facts and figures on this topic. It is available for internal communications for our member companies as well as for external use.

Study: Material Flow Analysis Plastics 2019 presented

Beginning of September, the biannual study „Stoffstrombild Kunststoffe für Deutschland“ (Material Flow Analysis Plastics in Germany 2019) was published. For this purpose, in addition to the production of virgin plastics, the produced and processed quantities of recycled materials were also determined. The results for 2019 show that recycled plastics were used more frequently than before and are becoming increasingly important as a raw material for new plastic products.

Last year, for example, 13.7 percent of the volume of plastics processed was covered by recycled materials; two years earlier the proportion was 12.3 percent. Since the last survey in 2017, the volume of recycled materials has increased by around five percent per year, which in turn has led to a decline in the volume of virgin plastic material used. This fell by 2.5 percent over the same period.

The study was created by Conversio Market & Strategy GmbH. It was commissioned by BKV, PlasticsEurope Deutschland e.V. together with other associations such as BDE, bvse and AGPU. The short version of the study can be downloaded free of charge as a PDF version from their websites.

New AGPU Activity Report is available

The new AGPU activity report 2019/2020 in German and English is available now. The report covers the most important topics since 2019 and provides detailed information about the partnership with the European sustainability programme VinylPlus®. In addition, the report presents the AGPU’s offer to its member companies from the entire PVC industry on the basis of selected projects and events.

The activity report will be printed and circulated to member companies and selected other stakeholders. It is also available in digital form as a PDF document on the AGPU website to download our report directly.

VinylPlus Sustainability Forum 2020 programme announced

On 15 October 2020, the VinylPlus® Sustainability Forum 2020 will take place as a web conference. Since the beginning of August, participants can register for the event via the VinylPlus website. In September the full programme was presented.

The virtual VSF will be opened by Stefan Sommer, Chairman of VinylPlus. Dr. Peter Mrosik, owner and CEO of profine, will welcome the participants. The key topics include the European Green Deal and the associated opportunities for the PVC industry to position its sustainable products in the market, as well as the topics of Green Building with certified PVC products and the development of the new sustainability programme towards 2030.

Registration and the detailed programme of the Forum is available at https://events.vinylplus.eu/vsf2020-virtual-event.

AGPU members vote for renaming

At the beginning of July, the AGPU member companies decided to change the name of the association from „Arbeitsgemeinschaft PVC und UMWELT e.V.“ to „VinylPlus Deutschland e.V.“, which will be implemented in 2021. The AGPU has been an associate member of VinylPlus® since 2017 and is closely linked to the European sustainability programme through various committees and a large number of projects.  „The AGPU already stands for the sustainable development of the material PVC. We want to show this clear focus on the future issues of the society even more strongly through the renaming“, says AGPU Chairman Dr Oliver Mieden (Vinnolit).

Also on the agenda of the AGPU general assembly was the supplementary election of the board. With Jörg Frömming (Dekura), Volkmar Halbe (FEB), Roland Pietz (Evonik), Dr. Ingo Sartorius (PlasticsEurope Deutschland) and Thomas Zenger (Baerlocher), five recognized industry representatives joined the board.

AGPU at expert panel with Federal Environment Minister

In mid-June, an expert discussion took place in Berlin regarding the situation of plastic window recycling and possible consequences if no exceptions for lead-containing recyclates were to be made in the restriction procedure. Bernhard Daldrup, member of the Bundestag, had invited to this meeting. In addition to the Federal Minister for the Environment, Svenja Schulze, the VEKA Chairman Andreas Hartleif as well as AGPU Managing Director Thomas Hülsmann and GKFP Managing Director Gerald Feigenbutz also joined the meeting.

Bernhard Daldrup, spokesman for building and housing of the SPD parliamentary group, is equally committed to stable political framework conditions for the recycling industry. For him, recycling is the most appropriate path to take in this industry. Svenja Schulze was also open to the concerns of the industry. In her opinion, industry-specific solutions are desirable. She wants to take into account the attitude of the PVC industry when it comes to changes in European regulations.