Plastics produced wholly or in considerable part from renewable raw materials (specified in a bio-based percentage).
Made from renewable raw materials/biomass (as distinct from fossil resources). “Of plant origin” in this context means that atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is bound in materials and substances.
Idealised model of an economy in which all of the materials used for production are collected and recycled in such a way that a new cycle (product life cycle) is achieved again and again.
Claim that a product or service does not cause harmful greenhouse gas emissions (zero carbon footprint).
Demonstratable biodegradability within the timeframe and technical framework of (industrial) composting. Conversion of the organic product mass into CO2, water and biomass (humus).
Plastic that differs from already widely used plastics (PE, PP, PET, PS, PVC, etc.) solely in its bio-based origin, but is otherwise completely identical. As distinct from bioplastics, which have new, special properties and have not already been produced from fossil resources (examples: PLA, PHA).
Loss of quality during the recycling process.
Possibility of use over longer periods (years/decades) without a loss in properties. Repairable and reusable are related terms.
International trade of products according to monitored rules that are more socially and economically beneficial for the producers in particular than without them – for overcoming poverty and inequality.
Carbon-based raw materials such as crude oil and coal formed anaerobically from biomass and stored many millions of years ago. Massive amounts of additional CO2 are released into the atmosphere when these are burned (mainly responsible for the climate crisis).
Criminal act under consumer protection law involving false or misleading environmental claims.
Life cycle assessment
Standardised model used to calculate and describe the environmental burden within defined system boundaries. The impact categories to be considered and, for example, compared also have to be set out. Indicators such as CO2 emissions, eutrophication, particulate matter, etc. describe partial loads.
Made from a single material, e.g. just one particular type of plastic (therefore easier to recycle).
Wrapping a product to protect it against damage or loss. Legislation addressing packaging defines it in a variety of forms.
Term used in waste legislation to describe a process whereby waste becomes a product serving a new useful purpose instead of simply being disposed of (loss of the product/reusable materials).
Verifiable ability to recycle products after use in (existing) recycling facilities so that the resulting secondary materials (recyclates) or products can ideally be used as high-quality substitutes for virgin (new) materials.
Verifiably made from secondary materials – materials obtained from recycling processes used in products as a substitute for new materials.
Legally and technically defined process for recycling products after use with the aim of producing useful secondary materials and products from these.
Primary product of a (plastic) recycling process – alternative term for secondary plastic/material.
Energy obtained from non-fossil resources.
Renewable raw materials
Plant-based materials used for energy or chemical/technical purposes (“products”). As distinct from use as food or feed.
A principle on which the use of resources allows for the permanent satisfaction of needs by preserving the capacity of the systems involved (especially of living things and ecosystems) for natural regeneration.
Sustainable development goals (SDG)
Seventeen interlinked goals of the United Nations set up in 2015 and promising “to promote prosperity [for all] while protecting the planet” under the umbrella of sustainability.
Term not protected or defined under law addressing the use of waste to achieve greater product quality than before. Example: making toys from the remnants of scrap metal recycling.