Press Release
09 Oct 2013

EUROPEN 20th Anniversary Event – Packaging and Sustainability

“Packaging’s direct positive effect on resource efficiency”

Calls for increased collection of post-consumer packaging to help meet current and future recycling and recovery targets through EPR in the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive

9 October 2013, Brussels - In his opening video message at the EUROPEN 20th Anniversary event, EU Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik underlined “it is clear that packaging can have a direct positive effect on resource efficiency, by for instance packaging’s role in the prevention of food losses on the way to the shops, on the shelves and in our kitchens.” This point was also taken up during the panel discussion, including EUROPEN members sharing their experience in implementing the requirements of EU waste legislation and providing an opportunity to discuss priorities for the upcoming review of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD).

Over the past 10 years we have seen a further decoupling of packaging waste and economic growth as also acknowledged by Commissioner Potočnik”, said Martin Reynolds, EUROPEN Chairman in his address at the anniversary event. He added “We are encouraged that the packaging supply chain’s efforts are recognised and hope that a revised PPWD will continue to support an effective Internal Market and enhance the end-of-life management of packaging waste in line with the Commission’s Roadmap for a Resource Efficient Europe”.

Increasing collection for recycling or recovery of post-consumer packaging* will be an important step towards accelerating Europe’s transition to a circular economy. During the panel discussion, Louis Lindenberg, Global Packaging Sustainability Director, Unilever commented that “EUROPEN members welcome efforts to tackle post-consumer packaging. We believe that feasible and realistic recycling and recovery targets should be combined with a requirement to collect separately post-consumer packaging in the PPWD.

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), a key policy tool for implementing requirements of the PPWD and meeting packaging waste recycling and recovery targets, was also a focus of discussions. “EUROPEN members believe it will be critical to introduce minimum requirements for all EPR schemes to ensure a level-playing field across the EU and discourage free riding. A clearer definition of roles and responsibilities is also needed for EPR schemes to continue delivering on recovery and recycling targets set by legislation”, said Sabine Strnad, Director Resource Recovery, Coca-Cola Hellenic.

Virginia Janssens, EUROPEN Managing Director, closed the event noting the importance of building on the packaging supply chain’s achievements but at the same time highlighting that “new challenges related to the environmental objective of the PPWD require the Directive to be updated so that it can continue to be relevant and effective, if our industry is to continue on its path towards a resource efficient economy. This Directive has proven to be a successful and appropriate tool for driving the recovery and recycling of all packaging waste as it is tailored to the unique properties of packaging and packaging waste.”

* Primary and secondary packaging generated by households, away-from-home and at closed surroundings (e.g. small businesses, bars, restaurants, public events, schools) insofar as the type of packaging/volumes consumed are similar to households.

On 9 October, EUROPEN – The European Organization for Packaging and the Environment – celebrated its 20th Anniversary by organising a debate on the packaging supply chain’s contribution towards a resource efficient Europe. The event brought together over 150 representatives from EU institutions, the packaging supply chain, the waste management sector, NGOs, media and other actors with a stake in packaging and sustainability.

The speeches of EUROPEN Chairman, Martin Reynolds, and Managing Director, Virginia Janssens, and Commissioner Potočnik’s video message can be found here.

Read EUROPEN’s position paper on the EU waste management targets here
Read EUROPEN’s position paper on EPR for post-consumer packaging here

Read EUROPEN’s guiding principles on EPR for post-consumer packaging here

EUROPEN – The European Organization for Packaging and the Environment - is an industry association representing the interests of the packaging supply chain in Europe on topics related to packaging and the environment, without favouring any specific packaging material or system.