The European legal framework for packaging products is mainly based on the European Parliament and Council Directive 94/62/EC of 20 December 1994 on packaging and packaging waste (PPWD) which was reviewed in 2018 as part of the Circular Economy Package and will be implemented by the Member States by 2020.

The Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC) also contains key provisions for steel for packaging and was similarly reviewed in 2018.

The Packaging & Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD) directive contains provisions on the prevention of packaging waste, on the re-use of packaging and on the recovery and recycling of packaging waste. The PPWD has played an important role in developing efficient recycling and recovery schemes throughout Europe and paving the way towards an internal market for packaging and packaging waste in the European Union. It sets, notably, the packaging recycling targets for EU member states.

It originally came into force in 1994 with a first amendment in 2004 and a new amendment in May 2018 as part of the EU Circular Economy Package. A new revision is underway with release of the European Commission’s the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) proposal in November 2022. 

Read more APEAL’s position on the PPWR in our position paper here.

Circular Economy Package

Since 2015, the European Union has been increasingly looking into possibilities within its policies to enable Europe to move nearer to a Circular economy, meaning an economy where products are designed and optimized for a cycle of reuse and recycling and waste does not exist. The core of this approach is the flagship initiative for a resource-efficient Europe under the ‘Europe 2020 strategy’, supporting the shift towards a resource-efficient economy in order to achieve sustainable growth. 

APEAL took an active role in European discussions and gave input on behalf of the Steel for Packaging industry to the European Commission’s consultations.

Steel for Packaging

Moving forward, and to reach the objective of a truly circular economy in Europe and reap the full environmental and economic benefits of recycling, APEAL now urges Member States to invest in the necessary infrastructure so that the recycling targets can be met for all packaging materials.

We welcome the recently-launched Virtuous Circle Workshops jointly organised by the Commission and the Member States. As APEAL, we are dedicated to supporting these initiatives and Steve Claus, Sustainability & Circular Economy Officer, has already been invited to join and share examples of good practices in collection, sorting and recycling of steel for packaging from APEAL’s recently published “Why steel recycles forever”

Key recommendations:

recognise the positive role of infinitely recyclable “Permanent materials” such as steel in society and their fundamental contribution to both waste prevention and sustainable resource use;

focus on integrated waste management systems to reach optimal recycling solutions, ensuring that society as a whole takes responsibility through the implementation of a national waste management strategy;

recognise the environmental benefits of “material to material” or “true” recycling and how this is different from “downcycling” and other recovery operations.