EUROPEN questions feasibility of biobased packaging
The packaging supply chain in Europe welcomes the adoption by the European Parliament of the Resolution on resource efficiency: moving towards a circular economy.
In particular, view EUROPEN supports the Parliament?s resounding call to strengthen the EU regulatory framework for EPR schemes by introducing EU binding minimum requirements to ensure transparency and cost effectiveness of all EPR schemes. The packaging supply chain calls on the European Commission to introduce such binding requirements for Member States that apply EPR, nurse along with EU Guidance for Member States to clearly define national roles and responsibilities for each and all actors involved in packaging waste management. ?This will increase the level playing field among all existing EPR schemes, try ensure better cost-effectiveness of EPR implementation with greater accountability for all involved actors and promote greater access to quality secondary raw materials for the manufacturing industry,? Ms Janssens added. ?A strengthened EPR framework will also help reach current and future packaging recycling and/or recovery targets at the lowest sustainable cost to society.?
However, EUROPEN cautions that MEPs? call to assess the feasibility of gradually replacing food packaging with bio-based and biodegradable, compostable material would amount to a disproportionate market intervention and urges EU policymakers to take a lifecycle approach that looks at the whole value chain. ?This measure contradicts a lifecycle approach by suggesting that one packaging type could work for all food products solely based on its end-of-life phase while ignoring product needs and safety, suitability for different food processing technologies, cost implications for producers, sorting and recycling infrastructure,? said Virginia Janssens, Managing Director of EUROPEN. ?A lifecycle approach ensures that when changes are made in one part of the value chain the potential trade-offs that affect resource use and waste in another part of the value chain are taken into account. Resource efficiency is about enabling further net environmental improvements along individual supply chains. This is why one size fits all regulatory measures across products and waste streams will not always offer the right solutions. Packaging-specific policies are still needed, considering the whole lifecycle of the packaged product. For instance, the end of a pack?s useful life is only one consideration, next to other considerations, such as technical functionalities, product safety, supply chain and distribution needs, cost, market requirements and consumer needs.?
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