On 19th February, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) reported that it supports the evaluation of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) with regard to the reassessment of bisphenol A. In the EFSA paper published last month, the experts come to the agreement that according to the latest scientific findings and current consumer exposure, BPA does not pose a risk to the health of any age group. This also applies to unborn children, infants and young adults.

At its session on 6th March 2015, the Federal Council of Germany passed a resolution on an amendment to the 4th Resolution on the Implementation of the German Federal Immission Control Act (BlmSchV). As reported by the German Federal Association of Secondary Raw Materials and Waste Disposal („Bundesverband Sekundärrohstoffe und Entsorgung e.V.“ – bvse), this amendment concerns the classification of plants and systems used to recycle and remove waste and other materials as IED plants/systems according to section 8 of the 4th BlmSchV and the specification of types of procedure for authorisation. The revision stipulates that other waste treatment plants and systems for hazardous waste with a throughput capacity of 10 tons or more per day of the catch-all clause stipulated under no. 8.11.2.1 must be classified as IED plants/systems and subjected to the formal authorisation procedure in the future.

The revision aims to adjust the provisions of the 4th BlmSchV to meet the requirements of European law stipulated by the Energy Efficiency Directive 2012/27/EU. According to critics, however, the amendments that have now been approved actually extend past the requirements of this directive. The bvse recently joined forces with a multitude of other associations to object to these amendments but was unfortunately unsuccessful.

According to the bvse, by implementing this revision, the German Federal Government has now created worse conditions for German waste management companies than for companies in other European countries for the umpteenth time and in doing so, has yet again made it more difficult to establish a level playing field.

The successful „PVC Recyclers Meet PVC Processors“ series from AGPU and VinylPlus is being continued this year. Along with three regional events planned for the second half of the year, AGPU and VinylPlus were also in attendance at the „PVC Recycling Campaign“ exhibition stand at the 2015 Demolition specialist conference, which took place in Berlin last week.

The event involving 700 participants and 80 exhibitors has developed into Europe’s largest specialist conference on demolition and dismantling matters. Those attending are demolition companies, firms of consulting engineers, public authority representatives and construction companies. The subjects covered range from demolition, technical engineering, workers safety through to pollutant decontamination and recycling.

The government coalition has stopped tax relief on the energetic modernisation of buildings planned for the start of the year. In a joint declaration, the Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Immobilienwirtschaft Deutschland (BID) and the Dachverband Deutscher Immobilienverwalter (DDIV) have criticised this step saying that it is actively contra-productive to the „success of the energy turnaround“. It was added that stopping the planned government coalition measures could prevent urgently required investments in the building stock being carried out. An increase of the KfW grants planned as an alternative was not sufficient. In addition they claimed that without a support tax component, the energetic modernisation programme would fail.

AGPU also criticises the decision of the German government. AGPU Managing Director Thomas Hülsmann feels that little will come from the ongoing examination to raise KfW funds instead. Here he points out that the grants made available by KfW have not been fully accessed to date. That is why AGPU can only request the coalition to resume discussions on introducing tax depreciations for energetic building measures and to get the urgently required campaign programme going to avoid a delay in renovation projects.

Two weeks ago, the Member of the German Federal Parliament and Energy Policy Coordinator of the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU)/Christian Social Union of Bavaria (CSU) parliamentary group, Thomas Bareiß, and other members of the Bundestag from the fields of energy policy, environment, technology and economic affairs from the CDU/CSU parliamentary group attended a Parliamentary Breakfast in Berlin together with representatives from PROWINDO (AGPU, QKE, EPPA, pro-K, Rewindo, SKZ), the industry initiative for plastic windows. The event focused on the established closed material cycle of the plastic window industry, its positive contribution towards energy and resource efficiency and the risks that the changes to the European Waste Frame Directive (Annex III)that have been announced for the middle of the year pose to this cycle.

„Energy and resource efficiency involving plastic windows play an important role in the energy transition. Scrap plastic windows should therefore not, as specified in the decision made by the European Commission, be classified as hazardous waste from 1st June 2015 onwards“, states Thomas Bareiß, summing up the matter in a nutshell.

PROWINDO also supports this position. The members of the initiative are calling for the introduction of a regulation stipulating that scrap plastic windows and recycled material must not be classified as hazardous waste. The aim of this request is to use pragmatic solutions for recycling to achieve planning reliability and in turn to conserve energy and resources without increasing risks for humans and the environment.