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Success factors for packaging in a circular economy

As the European Commission, Parliament and Council enter the final phase of their discussions on the review of EU waste legislation, including the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD), negotiations have proven complex and compromises hard to reach. Still, the Estonian Presidency is seeking to speed up the process, hoping to reach a final agreement by the end of the year. 

Our industry has long supported the necessary shift to a circular and low carbon economy. We remain proactive in offering packaging solutions for the safe transport and storage of food and beverages and in supporting their recycling after use. 

We are particularly proud of the ever-increasing recycling rate of our cartons across Europe, which touched 47 percent in 2016. Looking ahead, our long-term ambition is for all our beverage cartons to be recycled. To achieve this, mandatory separate collection of all packaging is critical. Separate collection would help the EU meet the ambitious recycling targets in the waste package, secure the supply of feedstock for recycling and incentivise investments in sorting and recycling technologies where needed. It is also crucial to prevent valuable resources from ending up in landfills. 

In a true circular economy, however, it is not enough to focus only on the end of life of products. Upstream aspects, including sourcing of primary materials and renewability, also need to be part of the conversation. In that sense, the review of EU waste legislation gives legislators the opportunity to offer concrete support to bio-based packaging, reducing the climate impact of the EU’s circular economy and supporting local economies.

Beverage cartons are made of responsibly sourced renewable materials. They are not only fully recyclable, but are also recycled in practice at a significant rate throughout the EU – a truly circular packaging solution!

Annick Carpentier, ACE Director General

This article has been published in the ACE Newsletter Autumn 2017.

Published on 22 November 2017