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Crisis having huge impact on German recycling sector

The coronavirus crisis has caused enormous damage to Germany’s recycling and waste management industry. ‘Companies are fighting for their existence,’ says Eric Rehbock, managing director of the German recycling industry body BVSE.

A massive shock to supply and demand is influencing the secondary raw materials markets. Many companies are struggling with high fixed costs which are not covered, says BVSE, and plastics recyclers in particular are facing difficult times.

Paper recyclers, however, appear to have escaped the downward pull. Paper stocks built up in recent months have been reduced because demand for packaging has remained very high. Even so, quantities collected fell sharply, which is due in large part to the inactive commercial sector.

Federal support does help

Meanwhile, BVSE’s 950 member companies have welcomed compensation from the federal government for damage caused by the coronacrisis. In particular, says association frontman Rehbock, short-time worker regulation and the planned deferral of tax payments due from businesses affected by the pandemic ‘help secure the urgently needed liquidity’. ‘No BVSE member has stopped their work. The private waste management sector has kept all waste disposal methods open to citizens but also to trade, crafts and industry, especially where municipal facilities have been closed or restricted,’ he adds.

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