EUROPEN calls for strengthened protection of the internal market in waste proposals

Ahead of the European Union Environment ministerial debate 26 February 2016 on the Circular Economy Package and its waste proposals, EUROPEN, the European Organisation for Packaging and the Environment, called on EU policymakers to ensure national packaging waste measures do not disrupt the internal market because of differences in interpretation and implementation.

“The Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD) provides for the economies of scale for private investment and innovation towards a resource-efficient circular economy,” EUROPEN Chairman Martin Reynolds says. “However, the ambition of a competitive circular economy would be undermined if the internal market does not function properly. National measures that may be permitted under the Waste Framework Directive (WFD) might lead to trade barriers and fragmentation of the internal market for packaging and packaged goods. Therefore, the protection of the internal market should be strengthened by replicating the WFD’s EPR (extended producer responsibility) legal framework in the PPWD, which has the internal market as its legal base.”

Virginia Janssens, managing director of EUROPEN, adds, “A strengthened legal framework for EPR as proposed in the WFD should also be introduced into the PPWD. This would help member states to achieve current and future packaging recycling targets and separate collection obligations.”

EUROPEN says it is urging EU policymakers to clarify the proposed harmonised method for calculating the combined ‘preparing for reuse’/recycling targets in the context of packaging. In particular, the definitions and variables of the methodology in the PPWD should be clarified to ensure that reported data are “robust and comparable.”

EUROPEN’s position paper on the legislative proposals can be downloaded from www.europen-packaging.eu/issue-papers.html.

CEPI collaborates on circular economy publication

The European paper industry was invited to collaborate with the World Economic Forum, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment on Circular Economy to produce a white paper with guidelines on design and management for circularity in the industry. The new publication provides guidance to all actors in the supply chain through simple eco-design rules for paper products, without limiting innovation and the introduction of new techniques, Brussel-based CEPI (Confederation of European Paper Industries) says. This is a product of the three pilots under Project MainStream, launched during the 2014 summit in Davos.

“We trust helping circular thinking in all steps of the complex value chain will help reach higher in what is already a high recycling performance,” says CEPI Sustainability Director Jori Ringman, a drafter of the guidance, in a panel discussion on the feasibility of higher recycling rates at the Packaging and Sustainability event in Brussels, Wednesday, 2 March 2016. “In circular economy, your downstream is your upstream, and what you pass on into the loop will have an impact on your own business.”

Although highly recyclable, paper usually is converted by industries that add chemicals to it through printing inks and other auxiliary materials, CEPI says. This can lead to problems in subsequent circular chains, as these chemicals cannot easily be removed from the paper before re-entering the mill. Furthermore, the recycling process cannot follow the speed of the evolution of inks and toners, the organisation says.

The publication summarises key choices to be made by direct and indirect stakeholders. More specifically, it identifies the choices that can influence businesses ordering fibre-based products.

UK government revises packaging recycling targets

The U.K. government plans to reduce packaging recycling targets in 2016 and 2017, according to the details of its 2016 budget. The government also will set new recycling targets for glass and plastic packaging for 2018, 2019 and 2020.

The government says it is making these adjustments “to reduce the burden on business.”

For plastic, the existing target will be reduced to 49% for 2016 and then increased by 2% each year to 2020, when it will reach 57%.

For glass, the existing target of 77% will be maintained until 2017 and then increased by 1% each year to 2020, when it will reach 80%.