Packaging and Sustainability
Of cycles and quotas, reusables and bans
EU Commission proposes new rules for packaging
Packaging must become more sustainable – with this declared goal, the EU Commission published a comprehensive legislative proposal today. The draft European Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation contains rules for the entire packaging life cycle – from environmentally friendly design to efficient recycling.
The creation of uniform EU-wide standards and rules for the packaging sector is an essential step towards a complete circular economy. Among other things, significantly higher demands are to be made on the recyclability of packaging from 2030 to reduce resource consumption. From the same date, all plastic packaging is to contain proportions of ten to thirty percent of already recycled material – so-called recyclates. “So far, the use of recyclates has stagnated in many sectors – with ambitious EU targets, a new dynamic could unfold here,” explains AGVU Chairman Dr Carl Dominik Klepper. “In the case of food packaging, however, the quota will come to nothing if legal approvals for its use continue to be lacking. Here, the EU Commission disappoints with a lack of solution perspectives”.
In future, a new labelling system will enable consumers to identify which bin a package belongs in: this will be ensured by standardised pictograms on both the packages and the corresponding waste bins. “What belongs where is sometimes a bit of a guessing game – but only correctly separated materials can be recycled properly. It is high time that it is made easier for consumers to contribute to environmental protection” emphasises Carl Dominik Klepper.
In the areas of beverage cups, bottles and cans, the trade is to meet ambitious reusable quotas in the future. However, the text leaves open how it is to be ensured that new reusable systems represent an ecological advantage. “After all, this is not automatically a given. For example, reusable containers should be cleaned, refilled and delivered regionally to avoid long transport routes and thus emissions” comments Carl Dominik Klepper.
The EU Commission is also presenting a ban list of certain disposable packaging. This would affect, for example, micro-packaging for milk, sugar or soy sauce, as well as many fruit and vegetable packages. “With such detailed regulations, but also with the very far-reaching documentation and proof obligations for companies that the EU Commission envisages, the costs and benefits are disproportionate” says Carl Dominik Klepper.
In the coming months, the European Parliament and the Council – the representation of the EU member states – will each make amendments to the EU Commission’s proposal and then negotiate a compromise text.
The AGVU has been committed to product responsibility in packaging since 1986 and advocates environmentally sound and resource-saving use and recycling. The association represents the entire value chain: from the packaging industry to the consumer goods industry and trade to the dual systems, disposal companies and recyclers.
Anna Kupferschmitt, Head of EU Affairs and Communications
Arbeitsgemeinschaft Verpackung + Umwelt e.V., Reinhardtstr. 25, 10117, Tel.: +49 30 – 206 426 60, E-Mail: email@example.com