Inside Brussels – Alexis Van Maercke on steel for packaging in EU policy discussions

It’s comprehensive, complex and proving to be rather controversial. Brussels has been buzzing with packaging discussions since the European Commission first released its Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) proposal last November.

The European Parliament’s rapporteur Frédérique Ries (Renew, Belgium) released her draft report for the lead ENVI committee in April. Exactly 4828  amendments are currently on the table for discussion among Members of the European Parliament’s. Position papers and op-eds have been published by most of the leading industry actors and a crop of new cross-sector alliances have seen the day (including our own Permanent Materials Alliance).

APEAL has welcomed the general approach of the revised PPWR regulation, which brings clarity to EU member states and contributes to achieving a key objective of the European Green Deal – to make all packaging fully recyclable by 2030.

Packaging plays an essential role in protecting and preserving resources such as food and reducing waste. But the value of this role can be obscured by the impact of poor recyclability and ineffective recycling. A Regulation that acknowledges and rewards real recycling is an important step in the drive to achieve a truly circular economy. While we acknowledge that the PPWR can be improved, we urge the European Parliament and the Member States to maintain at least the same level of ambition when it comes defining ‘recyclable packaging’.

APEAL particularly welcomes the introduction of a set of so-called ‘recyclability performance grades’ based on design for recycling criteria. Depending on its recyclability, packaging would be awarded a grade ranging from A to E, whereby the A-grade is the best-performer and E the worst. When labelled as E, the packaging format would have to be phased out within a certain time limit. Improving the recyclability of a packaging format and consequently moving up to a better grade will be stimulated through the eco-modulation of the Extended Producer Responsibility fees.

APEAL welcomes that Frédérique Ries has embraced this methodology in her draft report that introduces legally binding criteria and conditions for packaging to be labelled A, B, C, D or E and encourage the rapporteurs from all political groups to support this approach.

Click here to read our full position paper

Click here for our list of proposed amendments