European recyclers are urging an accelerated phasing out of non-recyclable packaging if the EU is to achieve its circular economy ambitions.
The recycling industries’ umbrella organisation EuRIC has been reacting to the recent proposed Regulation on Packaging and Packaging Waste (PPWR). As well as concerns over non-recyclable packaging, there is also said to be a lack of ambition on recyclability. EuRIC argues that criteria for designing for recycling must be fast-tracked for implementation before 2025, not 2035.
Moreover, requirements to ensure packaging is effectively collected, sorted, and recycled at scale should be implemented by 2030, not 2035, it adds.
Emmanuel Katrakis, EuRIC’s Secretary General, points out that experts at COP27 warned of record high emissions in 2022. ‘Recycling offers solutions to this crisis by lowering our demand for extracted raw materials, thereby reducing CO2 emissions, energy, and water consumption,’ he says.
‘Yet, we need a regulatory environment that enables recyclers to thrive and re-invest in Europe. The proposed regulation is a step in the right direction but does not go far enough in eliminating the use of non-recyclable packaging.’
EuRIC welcomes rules that mandate the use of recycled materials in new packaging but is calling for more ambitious targets for beverage bottles and non-contact sensitive packaging, including compostable packaging. It argues the additional demand for recycled materials spurred by these targets will enable recyclers to reinvest in the facilities necessary for realising the circular economy and tackling climate change.
It adds: ‘While recyclers support targets that promote the reuse of packaging, it is of paramount importance to ensure consistency between targets and provide the certainty needed by the value chain to invest and scale-up capacities.’ It is also calling for a distinction to be made between materials that are highly recyclable but not necessarily best fit for reuse, such as paper and cardboard, and those better suited for reuse.