The role of packaging in meeting the objectives of the circular economy


Joke Schauvliege, the Flemish Minister for Environment, Nature and Agriculture, shares her view on the role of packaging in EU's circular economy:

Does Europe need more ambitious recycling targets to achieve the objectives of the circular economy and what are the key measures to achieve them?

The EU needs more ambitious recycling targets. Too much waste is still going to incineration or being landfilled. This means valuable materials are still being lost. Higher recycling targets will encourage investments in recycling infrastructure and create a level playing field throughout the EU, which is good for our front runners.
If we want to compete with primary raw materials, high-quality recycling is crucial. The best way to create awareness amongst consumers and to generate pure waste streams is still mandatory sorting at source.
What role do you see for packaging in reaching this ambition and what more can be done to boost recycling of all packaging?  
Packaging is still an important part of the European waste mountain. Recycling of packaging can be further stimulated by mandatory extended producer responsibility for packaging throughout Europe, by introducing material specific recycling targets (e.g. plastics, aluminium, paper-cardboard) or by implementing end-of-waste criteria for e.g. plastics on a European level.
This article has been published in the ACE Newsletter Autumn 2017.