APEAL welcomes Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation

APEAL, The Association of European Producers of Steel for Packaging, has cautiously welcomed the general approach of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) published on 30 November 2023 by the European Commission.

Alexis Van Maercke, secretary general of APEAL, said: “Packaging plays an essential role in protecting and preserving resources such as food and reducing waste. But the value of this role can be obscured by the impact of poor recyclability and ineffective recycling. APEAL believes the European Commission has taken a bold step to address some of these issues through this revised PPWR legislation.

“The transition to a Regulation that acknowledges, and rewards, real recycling is an important step in the drive to achieve a truly circular economy.”

APEAL welcomes the introduction of a set of so-called ‘recyclability performance grades’ based on design for recycling criteria. Depending on its recyclability, packaging would be awarded a grade ranging from A to E, whereby the A-grade is the best-performer and E the worst. When labelled as E, the packaging format would have to be phased out within a certain time limit.

However, APEAL believes more needs to be done to achieve the Commission’s objective that all packaging on the EU market be reusable or recyclable in an economically viable way by 2030, as stipulated by the Green Deal and the Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP) 2.0.

Packaging should not only be designed so that it is recyclable in an economically viable way by 2030, but also be effectively and efficiently recycled at scale by that date. Furthermore, minimum recyclability criteria should be introduced for all packaging put on the market, ensuring a level-playing field across all materials, says APEAL.

The association welcomes the European Commission’s ambition to link the eco-modulation of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) fees with the recyclability performance grades. It is the association’s firm belief that not all recycling contributes equally to a circular economy. Permanent materials such as steel, that can be recycled again and again should be rewarded over those that cannot be recycled or only be recycled a limited number of times.

APEAL is pleased that mandatory recycled content targets are proposed to boost the uptake of certain recyclates with low demand, and not for materials such as steel which are already highly recycled, and significantly, where demand for scrap already exceeds supply.

But to fully close the loop, further action is still required, according to APEAL, stating it is now essential to eliminate loopholes in the waste management process and set out an ambitious approach to phasing out the landfill of recyclable resources in the forthcoming review of the Waste Framework and Landfill directives.

“Steel scrap is simply too valuable to end up in landfill,” said Mr Van Maercke.

APEAL says it is looking forward to working with the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Member States, and all relevant stakeholders to deliver upon this ambitious legislation, enabling Europe to move decisively towards a greener and more circular economy.

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