The Circular Economy Package was presented by the European Commission (EC) on 2 December and by now you will all have read its content and a thousand comments from all industrial sectors.
BBIA participated in the EC’s consultation on the Package, giving its views on how bioeconomy and circular economy are inextricably linked.
The package has many facets to it: revisions of the Packaging Directive, the Waste Directive, new targets for landfill reduction, and a revision of the Batteries and WEEE Directive.
There are many positive elements: a target for landfill diversion of 90 per cent of waste by 2030 which will certainly require extraordinary efforts in most EU nations; a target of 65 per cent recycling by 2030 and higher targets for packaging waste recycling, especially plastics, with 75 per cent to be recycled by 2030. Moreover, the EC proposes strengthening and harmonising Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) systems, which are currently extremely heterogeneous and difficult to monitor in what is supposed to be a single market. Finally, all countries ‘should’ separately collect biowaste, although they can choose to do so according to the economic and logistical conditions they face in each area.
This is a weakness of course and was clearly imposed upon the EC by eastern governments unwilling to face the cost of organics collection – especially where overall recycling is still less than 10 per cent – and it is contradictory to EU emissions targets under the climate change agreements.
However, on a positive note, the 65 per cent recycling target is not achievable without intercepting organics, so this strengthens those pushing for organics collection and is potentially good for the use of biobags in such systems.
The Package also promotes redesign of packaging and other products to enhance their recyclability and to reduce waste, creating an opening for the use of biomaterials in new product design.