Europen and European Bioplastics have now also published their responses to the European Commission’s Circular Economy Action Plan 2.0, announced 11 March.
Europen - the European Organization for Packaging and the Environment and the cross-industry voice of the packaging supply chain - is pleased with the new plan and supportive of the European Commission’s Green Deal as the new growth strategy for Europe. The asssociation said it will actively engage with policymakers to communicate how packaging contributes towards achieving the objectives of the new Circular Economy Action Plan.
Europen chairman Hans van Bochove pointed out that packaging and packaging waste were also a major focus of the 2015 Circular Economy Action Plan. The measures formulated in that plan need to be properly implemented prior to adopting even more stringent ones, he said.
“Assessing the environmental, social, product safety and economic impacts of each new legislative measure, especially in view of EU-level bans of some packaging materials for certain applications, will be crucial, to avoid unintended environmental and economic consequences”, he added.
European Bioplastics, the association for the bioplastics industry in Europe, sees the new plan as a step forward, especially in the light of the Commission’s commitment to support the sustainable and circular bio-based sector through the implementation of the Bioeconomy Action Plan, said chairman François de Bie.
“We have long been criticizing the rather artificial separation of the circular economy and the bio-based economy. These two, however, are very much interlinked, and we are happy to see that this seems to have finally been understood”, he said.
The recently published action plan aims at accelerating the transformational change required by the European Green Deal, and, said de Bie, the bioplastics industry is looking forward and willing to provide strong support.
He urged the focus to be broadened, however, from recycling and the introduction of recyclate quotas, especially as recyclates, with the exception of PET, may not be used in food contact applications.
“Therefore, we strongly encourage the EC to support the use of sustainably sourced bio-based virgin material for packaging requiring food contact approval,” he said.
De Bie lauded the EC’s commitment to assess biodegradable and compostable plastics in order to determine which applications may be beneficial to the environment, pointing out that contaminated food packaging is currently not mechanically recycled, but instead goes to landfill or is incinerated.
“Compostable bioplastics help divert organic waste from landfills. The remedy can only be to allow such packaging to be composted together with the separately collected biowaste. Compost from separately collected bio-waste … plays an important role in a circular economy by closing the organic cycle. We therefore welcome the mandatory separate biowaste collection by 2023“, he explained.