Smurfit Kappa Europe chief executive says we shouldn’t encourage reuse over recycling 

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The boss of Smurfit Kappa Europe has warned that encouraging reuse over recycling could damage the recycling industry. 

In an opinion piece for Politico Smurfit Kappa Europe chief executive Saverio Mayer voiced his concerns over the EU vote on Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR), which includes proposed mandatory reuse rules that would be a loophole that he believes will compromise existing recycling systems.  

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This is because proposals to introduce reusable transport packaging could harm use of cardboard packaging when the intention is to cut down use of plastic.  

He said: “Proposals to impose mandatory reuse rules for transport packaging are concerning. 

“They would pull the rug out from under the world’s best recycling system and cause the amount of plastic being produced as reusable packaging to double by 2040. A regulation intended to prevent waste, could end up including a loophole that causes a mountain of it. 

“The reality is that only 9% of plastics are currently recycled. The remaining 91% end up in landfills and incinerators, or in our rivers, beaches and oceans. Plastic also accounts for 10-13% of the CO2 emissions we need to eradicate by 2050.  

“Encouraging reusable packaging is well intentioned, but we shouldn’t have to scrap recyclable materials: the two should go hand-in-hand… 

“…The overriding principle should be this: we should not replace the world’s best recycling system with an unproven reuse-and-return system to justify a product people want to use less rather than more. 

“We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Sustainable packaging, 100% renewable, recycling and biodegradable already exists.”