Paper chain calls for EU rethink on packaging

Ten associations back growing industry demands for more holistic policy approach

European producers of paper and paper-based packaging have called for a radical shift in EU policies on packaging and packaging waste. The EU should realise that setting rigid requirements for increased recycling or source prevention can raise life-cycle environmental impacts, according to a coalition of ten trade associations.

Coordinated by EU paper makers association Cepi, the coalition's statement joins a growing list of calls by industry bodies for the EU to rethink its approach to packaging and specifically to the 1994 packaging directive (ENDS Daily 19 October). Industry is now "quite unanimous" about this, Cepi's Esa Hyvarinen told ENDS Daily.

The statement was formulated with half an eye on current European Commission preparations to revise the packaging directive, according to Cepi, but also aims at building the foundations for a longer term debate.

Instead of quantitative recycling and source prevention targets, the coalition says the environment would benefit more from a "holistic" approach based on the integrated resource and waste management (IRWM) concept advocated earlier this year by the EU's main industry association Unice (ENDS Daily 28 March).

Packaging's economic role needs to be recognised, as does its role in preventing waste of goods and energy in delivery of products, the associations argue. Efforts towards prevention should be focused not on source prevention but on waste prevention by limiting the amount of packaging waste going to landfill. For the paper and board industry in particular, high mandated recycling levels can reduce overall resource efficiency because high recycled content packs are heavier, the coalition adds.

Follow Up:
Cepi, tel: +32 2 627 4911. Cepi plans to post the brochure on its web site soon.

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