Thursday

27th Jul 2017

Stakeholder

Time to foster packaging’s contribution towards a resource efficient Europe

  • Packaging’s positive contribution to resource efficiency can and should be advanced. (Photo: William Brown)

Packaging is part of the solution for overall sustainability. Across the packaging supply chain efforts will continue to deliver resource efficiency, promoting the transition towards a circular and competitive economy.

These efforts relate to improving packaging’s performance and at the same time delivering packaging solutions with a low environmental footprint, across the whole life cycle of packaging (from sourcing over end of life management to the production of secondary raw materials). Over the past two decades much has been achieved, but, as always, challenges remain and new opportunities can be seized.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • (Photo: EUROPEN)

Packaging innovation, including environmental improvements are not only market driven, but go hand in hand with the right and relevant regulatory framework. The ongoing EU waste legislation review provides a key opportunity to enable and strengthen the positive contribution of packaging towards resource efficiency through clear, effective and proportionate legislation on packaging and packaging waste.

The European Commission is currently reviewing EU waste legislation, including the EU Packaging & Packaging Waste Directive (94/62/EC) (PPWD), with legislative proposals on revised EU waste management targets expected before summer.

This review – mainly focused on the end of life management of (packaging) waste – is set to contribute to the EU’s overarching objectives in transitioning towards a resource efficient, low-carbon and competitive economy.

Packaging’s positive contribution to resource efficiency can and should be advanced by ensuring better implementation and enforcement of existing EU Waste legislation in the Member States. In addition, significant market and regulatory changes related to packaging and packaging waste management have occurred in the last two decades, now requiring regulatory updates and legal clarity in the PPWD and Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC).

The PPWD has been – and still is - a successful and effective legislative framework for driving recycling and recovery of all used packaging. Based on official EU data, the EUROPEN in-depth analysis on the evolution of packaging waste recycling and recovery rates shows that between 2000 and 2011, the amount of (non-wood) packaging going to final disposal (landfill) in the 15 oldest Member States fell by 49.5% and that in 2011 in the same countries 65.3% of all packaging was recycled compared to 47.3% in 1998.

The recycling results for the packaging waste stream considerably exceed the 40% recycling rate of general municipal waste in 2011, up from 27% in 2001.

Realistic and achievable targets

However, the analysis also shows substantial disparities in Member States’ recycling and recovery rates, explained by differences in implementation deadlines, waste management infrastructure and reprocessing capacity, but also a lack of consistence in the national reporting of packaging recycling and recovery rates to EUROSTAT.

Future EU targets and timelines should therefore be realistic and achievable, taking into account these national specificities, and based on harmonised rules for calculating and reporting packaging and packaging waste data across the Member States.

In order to meet their legal obligations, industry has set up Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) compliance schemes in virtually all Member States, which manage the end-of-life of their packaging. EPR has proven to be a successful policy tool used by Member States to meet packaging recycling and recovery targets set by the PPWD. However, since the PPWD’s adoption in 1994, divergent practices are undermining efforts to meet national targets.

In order to drive higher recycling and recovery rates, it will be of key importance to clarify EPR for packaging waste. A clear EU legal framework for EPR in the PPWD will help address current market distortions to ensure a level playing field and fair competition between competing EPR compliance schemes.

This can be done by assigning clear roles and responsibilities for all actors involved in packaging waste management operations (Member States, municipalities, and economic operators), as well as introducing minimum legal performance criteria for all EPR compliance schemes.

The PPWD has proven invaluable in safeguarding the free movement of packaging and packaged goods throughout the EU, while at the same time protecting the environment. It therefore remains the appropriate and effective regulatory framework for driving and accelerating efforts towards greater resource efficiency in a true European Single Market for packaging and packaged goods.

Over the past years, packaging has moved from a negative value to a positive value and resource, amid increasing material costs, better end-of-life solutions for packaging waste management and corporate objectives.

An updated EU regulatory framework, taking into account the above points, will allow packaging and packaging waste management to optimally contribute to deliver resource efficiency with waste finally being recognised and marketed as a valuable resource.

EUROPEN’s positions on the EU waste legislation review are available here.

Virginia Janssens is the Managing Director of EUROPEN, the European Organization for Packaging and the Environment, an EU industry association presenting the opinion of the packaging supply chain in Europe, without favouring any specific packaging material or system. EUROPEN members represent the packaging supply chain from raw material suppliers, packaging producers to brand owners.

EU to change resource-wasting economic model

The European Commission is working on policy solutions it says are needed to better address the consequences of a rising population, excessive consumption, and dwindling resources.

EU and Chinese SMEs matchmake in Brussels

While EU and Chinese political leaders discussed climate change and trade at the European Council in Brussels, hundreds of small and medium-sized enterprises from China and all across Europe participated in the EU-China SMEs Matchmaking Event at the Bozar.

Letter

An open letter to ministers on the audiovisual directive

The ongoing revision of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive is a key opportunity to reduce exposure of Europe's children to advertisements of health-harmful products – an opportunity that should not be missed.

We must renew Europe for all Europeans

A call for socialist values and rights at a time when Europe is facing a number of existential threats, says a group of progressive European affairs ministers.

Stakeholders' Views

This EUobserver section provides a platform for EU stakeholders to communicate positions, views and activities.

News in Brief

  1. Werner Hoyer re-appointed as EU investment bank chief
  2. Spanish PM denies knowledge of party corruption
  3. France 'routinely' abuses migrants, says NGO
  4. Swedish government rocked by data scandal
  5. Member states relocate 3,000 migrants in June
  6. Top EU jurist says Malta's finch-trapping against EU law
  7. EU judges rule to keep Hamas funds frozen
  8. EU court rejects passenger data deal with Canada

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  2. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  3. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  5. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  6. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  7. ECPAFood waste in the field can double without crop protection. #WithOrWithout #pesticides
  8. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  9. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  10. Martens CentreWeeding out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  11. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  12. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Ep. 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug

Latest News

  1. Insults fly after EU ultimatum to Poland
  2. UK requests EU migration study, 13 months after Brexit vote
  3. EU defends airline data-sharing after court ruling
  4. Stop blaming Trump for Poland’s democratic crisis
  5. EU-US scrap on Russia sanctions gets worse
  6. Czechs, Hungarians, and Poles have one month to start taking migrants
  7. EU Commission sets red lines for Poland on Article 7
  8. Court told to 'dismiss' case against EU migrant quotas

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. CESICESI to Participate in Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee on Postal Services
  2. ILGA-EuropeMalta Keeps on Rocking: Marriage Equality on Its Way
  3. European Friends of ArmeniaEuFoA Director and MEPs Comment on the Recent Conflict Escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh
  4. EU2017EEEstonian Presidency Kicks off Youth Programme With Coding Summer School
  5. EPSUEP Support for Corporate Tax Transparency Principle Unlikely to Pass Reality Check
  6. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament Improves the External Investment Plan but Significant Challenges Ahead
  7. EU2017EEPM Ratas: EU Is Not Only an Idea for the 500mn People in the Bloc, It Is Their Daily Reality
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersCloser Energy Co-Operation Keeps Nordic Region on Top in Green Energy
  9. ILGA-EuropeGermany Finally Says Ja - Bundestag Votes for Marriage Equality!
  10. EPSUJapanese and European Public Sector Unions Slam JEFTA
  11. World VisionEU, Young Leaders and Civil Society Join Forces to End Violence Against Girls
  12. UNICEFNarrowing the Gaps: The Power of Investing in the Health of the Poorest Children