Recycling & reuse recognised as complementary to the circular economy

FEFCO welcomes the European Commission’s proposal for a Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation that will contribute to the EU’s circular economy and climate neutrality ambitions.

FEFCO supports the Commission’s decision to transition from a Directive to a Regulation as it will allow for improved harmonisation of packaging requirements and facilitate a level playing field in the European single market. Additionally, the waste reduction targets established by the proposal are a necessary step towards improving waste prevention and packaging sustainability across the EU.

The proposal provides a balanced approach to ensure that packaging “be designed, manufactured and commercialised in such a way as to allow for its reuse or highquality recycling”. This recognises the complementarity of both reuse and recycling systems in improving circularity.

Recycling is already at the heart of the circular economy, and we are pleased to see recycling targets upheld in the proposal. Corrugated cardboard contributes extensively to the circular system as it is the most recycled packaging material on the market. The industry has invested heavily in sustainability by improving recycling systems, with paper & board packaging achieving a recycling rate of 82%. Corrugated cardboard packaging also uses secondary raw materials, with 88% recycled content on average.

FEFCO believes that functional and wellestablished existing circular systems should be maintained and further supported. Packaging based on a renewable material which is fully recyclable and recycled in reality should be exempt from reuse targets in the legislation. Fibres from corrugated cardboard packaging can be recycled up to twentyfive times without any significant loss in quality. The recycling of corrugated cardboard packaging therefore ensures the reuse of the packaging material and contributes to the circular economy.

Eleni Despotou, Director General of FEFCO, said “the corrugated industry is dedicated to supporting the EU climate ambition, as demonstrated through FEFCO’s recently launched Climate Neutrality Roadmap. We believe that both circular economy and climate neutrality are indispensable for achieving the EU Green Deal ambitions.”