Brussels-based EUROPEN is one of 29 associations that has announced a set of joint recommendations for the new Circular Economy proposals expected from the European Commission by the end of 2015. EUROPEN describes the coalition of associations as those representing “a large range of industries and sectors including major consumer goods brands, packaging producers, material producers and extended producer responsibility (EPR) organisations,”
The 29 organisations have called for a long-term strategic EU policy framework that enables and facilitates what they call “sustainable resource use from a full life cycle perspective [and] incentivises economies of scale and takes into account value chains at all levels, each with their different functional needs and supply and demand realities.”
“In order for the forthcoming EU proposals to benefit the environment as well as European competitiveness, jobs and growth, we need a holistic approach that recognises the positive role of packaging in optimising resource use, minimising product waste and protecting products all along the many and varied value chains that are concerned,” says Martin Reynolds, chairman of EUROPEN. “We call on the EU to ensure that a full life cycle approach to packaging and the internal market principle is firmly embedded in future EU measures, as it is today in the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive, the cornerstone of EU law for our sector,” adds Reynolds.
The joint industry recommendations announced by the associations call on the EU to ensure that the Circular Economy package:
- safeguards the free movement of packaging and packaged goods in the EU Internal Market;
- ensures the full implementation and enforcement of existing EU laws;
- strengthens the EU legal framework for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for used packaging;
- establishes a solid, comparable and harmonised calculation method for packaging recycling rates;
- sets realistic and achievable packaging recycling targets based on known baselines; and
- diverts packaging materials from landfill.
“The packaging supply chain has achieved considerable progress in resource efficiency, including recycling and recovery over the past 20 years, supported by the holistic approach enshrined in current EU legislation”, says Virginia Janssens, managing director of EUROPEN. “We are committed to persevering along this road. The joint recommendations that we co-signed with such a broad range of sectors today point to a clear path ahead through which EU legislation can further enable our diverse industries to achieve continuous environmental improvement while continuing to contribute to a vibrant, innovative and competitive European economy,” adds Janssens.