The European Organisation for Packaging and the Environment (EUROPEN) has said that recycling targets should be optimised instead of maximised.
In a speech by its managing director Virginia Janssens at its recent conference in Brussels, she said that higher levels of recycling are not necessarily environmentally beneficial in all cases.
She added: “The priority must be to optimise rather than maximise recycling. EUROPEN therefore supports the [European] Commission’s impact assessment, if indeed all Member States are ready for higher targets, and against which timelines. The Commission’s efforts in helping the lowest performing Members States to improve waste management performance is also helpful.
“In a nutshell, EUROPEN calls on the Commission to propose realistic and achievable EU packaging waste targets in the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD), taking into account the infrastructure, current performances, economic and technical feasibility in the Member States. One option is to explore the possibility of setting different targets in the PPWD for different groups of Member States.
“All of the regulatory conditions I mentioned are interlinked and are a pre-requisite to drive more resource efficiency, and in particular more recycling and recovery of packaging waste.”
She added that EUROPEN strongly support the PPWD and that a separate EU regulatory approach for packaging and packaging waste is essential in order to address its specific requirements in terms of volume, consumer visibility, recycling value and market structure.
As a result, the PPWD guarantees the free movement of packaged goods and provides an appropriate legislative framework for driving recovery and recycling targets for packaging waste.
She added: “It is crucial to maintaining the recovery and recycling targets for packaging waste in the PPWD to ensure that the legal obligation to separately collect packaging for recycling/recovery continues. The PPWD should therefore not be subsumed into the broader Waste Framework Directive.”