Journal article
The multidimensional effects of single-use and packaging plastic strategies on German household waste management

Publication Details
Schmidt, S.; Laner, D.
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Waste Management
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Single-use and packaging plastic (SUPP) strategies are intended to transform the linear make-use-dispose economy of SUPPs into a more circular, resource-efficient one. The aim of this study was to identify optimal SUPP management concepts from a circular-economy-perspective by assessing the effects of different SUPP strategies on household waste management. Data on the generation and management of SUPP-containing household waste in Germany in 2017 were compiled and a material flow model was established. Regulatory SUPP strategies were translated into scenarios (with effects on waste generation and waste composition) and implemented in the material flow model. The effects on material efficiency, waste generation and lower heating values were evaluated and trade-offs between these target dimensions were identified. In Germany in 2017, 32 kg per person and year of SUPP household waste were generated, of which 28 kg per person and year was packaging waste. From a material efficiency perspective, the combination of banning specific non-packaging SUPPs and optimizing source-separation leads to the maximum increase in final recycling rates of SUPPs in household waste, from 38% to 50%. However, in this scenario the amount of SUPP-containing household waste is hardly reduced as compared to the status quo. The trade-offs observed in different waste management target dimensions highlight the importance of understanding the systemic effects of SUPP strategies on waste management in order to identify optimal solutions from a circular-economy-perspective.


Last updated on 2021-04-08 at 14:25