Less Waste, more value: closing the material cycle” debate in the European Parliament

Resource efficiency, recyclability, and reducing packaging waste took centre stage at the March event organised by APEAL and The Parliament magazine.

The discussion at the event focused on the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) proposal.

The host of the meeting, Tomislav Sokol MEP, opened the event by acknowledging that the PPWR is very ambitious but that it is also an opportunity to create jobs across the EU and invest in innovation. He also highlighted his support for the transition from a directive to a regulation.

Mr Sokol’s opening comments were supported by Maria de Graça Carvalho MEP and Alex Agius Saliba MEP who both agreed that the regulation is a step in the right direction but must not be too complicated to ensure the best possible uptake across industry.

APEAL President Luc Brantjes took the opportunity to reflect on how steel for packaging is setting the example for achieving a circular economy with steel recycling rates increasing year on year for the past decade, as the industry works toward the goal of zero steel to landfill.

Whilst APEAL supports the general approach of the PPWR, there are clarifications needed in some areas, particularly on the goal of the European Green Deal and Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP) 2.0 for all packaging on the EU market to be reusable or recyclable in an economically viable way by 2030. Indeed, packaging should not only be designed so that it is recyclable in an economically viable way by 2030, but also be effectively and efficiently recycled at scale by that date.

APEAL firmly believes that not all recycling contributes equally to a circular economy, and permanent materials such as steel which are already well recycled and can be recycled infinitely, should be appropriately recognised over less environmentally friendly alternatives.

The discussion was also enriched by Aurel Ciobanu-Dordea, Director in Charge of the Circular Economy at DG ENVI.  He commented that he is positive about the sustainable qualities of steel for packaging which are well proven, especially the record high recycling rate of 85.5% reported in 2022.

The PPWR paves an exciting future for packaging and recycling in the EU, but to fully close the loop further action is required. APEAL believes it is essential to eliminate loopholes in the waste management process and set out an ambitious approach to phasing out the landfill of recyclable resources in the forthcoming review of the Waste Framework and Landfill directives, in addition to the PPWR and the CEAP.

APEAL is looking forward to working with the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Member States, and all relevant stakeholders to deliver upon the ambitious Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation, enabling Europe to move decisively towards a greener and more circular economy.

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