Ambitious though Ambiguous Outcome to European Parliament Vote on Circular Economy

The European Container Glass Industry warmly welcomes the ambitious proposals that were adopted yesterday by the European Parliament’s ENVI Committee on the Circular Economy Package. The request for mandatory separate collection across all EU Member States is particularly important as it guarantees the highest quality of recycled secondary raw materials for manufacturing. This is fundamental for the Container Glass circular economy model centered on the closed loop recycling of glass waste to be reused in new production.

Focusing on quality of recycled material, in particular for food contact materials, is more important than setting targets, which are there to channel investments in the right direction”, commented Adeline Farrelly, Secretary General of FEVE.  “That is why we pay particular attention to separate collection and safe and circular recycling, and we hope the European Parliament will be strong in upholding its position on this point in plenary”.

This goes hand in hand with the strong position of the ENVI Committee to focus the Packaging Waste targets on recycling only, and not combine them with preparation for re-use which would water down the recycling ambition by artificially boosting figures with business-as-usual activities. However, the European Parliament position remains ambiguous on re-use: “It already makes perfect business sense to re-use packaging before it becomes waste. But setting a flat re-use target for all packaging without differentiation between consumer packaging and business or transport packaging will not encourage any step changes on promoting re-use among consumers”.

The ENVI Committee has also sent mixed signals by singling out bio-based packaging over other packaging materials. This fails to acknowledge that the circular economy is about keeping resources productive without requiring the input of new resources, whether renewable or not. Permanent materials which can be recycled several times do not need to be renewed. “Surely this legislation must remain material neutral and focus on setting rules and principles on end of life for all materials to fulfil”, concluded Adeline Farrelly.

The European Container Glass Industry looks forward to continuing the debate with Member States and the European Parliament on how legislation can support a genuine Circular Economy.

 Click here  for the full press release of  25 January 2017.