02 Mar 2016

EUROPEN’s policy recommendations to maximise the benefits of a Circular Economy in Europe

EUROPEN supports the growth and competitiveness objectives of the Circular Economy and much of the content of the legislative proposals. We have however identified some regulatory gaps in the Commission’s proposals which run the risk of creating trade barriers, distortions to competition and disproportionate administrative burdens for businesses and Member States in Europe.

The following recommendations are intended to overcome these gaps and increase the likelihood that the Circular Economy objectives and targets can be met for the benefit of business, citizens and Member States. See EUROPEN’s position paper for further details.

  • Strengthen the protection of the Internal Market for packaging and packaging waste by replicating the WFD’s EPR1 legal framework in the PPWD which has the Internal Market as its legal base. This will ensure that protectionist measures are avoided and that national measures do not disrupt the Internal Market for packaged goods. Adjust the EPR minimum requirements for the specific context of packaging and packaging waste. A Circular Economy cannot be achieved if the Internal Market does not function properly.
  • Harmonise EU waste legislation, but only where relevant and maintain the sectoral policy approach for packaging and packaging waste in the PPWD. The WFD covers all waste streams and only addresses the end-of-life phase while the PPWD responds to the specificities of packaging and the packaging waste stream. Some measures proposed in the WFD are only appropriate for products, but do not make sense for packaging, which is not a product per se.
  • Clarify the harmonised calculation method for “preparing for re-use” / recycling targets for packaging and packaging waste.
  • Establish clear national roles and responsibilities for all actors in national EPR implementation. Add retailers and consumers/citizens to the list of those actors bearing a shared responsibility in packaging waste management. Specify that Member States, not EPR schemes as suggested, retain the responsibility for national target setting. Ensure the obligation placed on producers/importers is clearly demarcated according to their national role and not extended to undefined and unlimited “waste management” as proposed. This requirement is necessary to avoid severe distortions in our supply chain and competition issues. Require EPR schemes to report on the revenues received from the sales of secondary raw materials from their packaging in order to ensure the application of the net cost principle2.

1 Extended producer responsibility: the producer’s full or partial operational and/or financial responsibility for a product extended to the post-consumer state of a product’s life cycle, as a means for Member States to meet EU collection, recycling and/or recovery targets.

2 Net cost principle: the final operating costs attributed to the obligated industry are reduced by the contribution arising from the revenues received from the sales of secondary raw materials originating from used recovered packaging.