Following withdrawal of the orginal Circular Economy Package for which the FPA raised a number of concerns in consultation with DEFRA, the Commission has issued a roadmap and announced a new consultation.

The policy fields include: Circular economy, resource efficiency, waste management, product policy, markets for secondary raw materials, sustainable production and consumption.

The background explained by the Commission is to present a new, more ambitious circular economy strategy late in 2015, to transform Europe into a more competitive resource-efficient economy, addressing a range of economic sectors, including waste. The strategy will be fully aligned with the priorities of the new Commission. It will comprise a revised legislative proposal on waste and a Communication setting out an action plan on the circular economy for the rest of this Commission’s term of office. The action plan will cover the whole value chain, and focus on concrete measures with clear EU added value, aiming at ‘closing the loop’ of the circular economy. The Commission is engaged in a thorough reflection on how the objective of circular economy can be reached in an efficient way that is fully compatible with the jobs and growth agenda.

It would seem the targets we opposed in the first package are not up for further negotiation.

The consultation focuses on other parts of the circular economy than waste targets, which the previous Commission consulted on in 2013 when preparing the proposals which were withdrawn earlier in 2015.

Key consultation components:

Binding rules on product design – Interest groups are asked whether they would prefer minimum requirements for durability under the EU’s Ecodesign Directive over industry-led self-regulatory measures.

Which product characteristics future measures should focus on, with options ranging from repairability and reusability, to biodegradability and resource use, including water consumption.

Which product groups should be addressed as a priority, with  packaging materials listed as an option along with white goods, cars etc

What impact new design rules could have on production costs and the affordability of products

Best measures to bring production processes in line with circular economy principles, identifying minimum standards for increasing resource-efficient processes.

Identify the biggest barriers to developing secondary raw material markets such as poor availability of waste to be recycled, a lack of EU-wide quality standards for recycled materials, or poor quality due to contamination.

The new Commission wants to identify barriers to moving towards a circular economy ahead of tabling a new legislative proposal on waste and an action plan by the end of the year. The plan will cover the whole value chain, focusing on “concrete measures with clear EU added value”, while contributing to wider EU objectives such as the ‘energy union’ strategy and climate goals.

Interested parties have until 20 August to respond.

The original package included proposals that directly impact on the foodservice packaging market:

  • Greatly increased packaging recycling targets to 2030 (by 2025 Paper 90%, Plastics 60%, latter currently 34%)
  • The entire cost of waste management to be met entirely by producers and importers
  • A new recycling measurement calculation based on recycling and reuse rather than as current, recovery.  This will have the effect of lowering current UK recycling achievements (by excluding contaminated / discarded materials and energy recovery)
  • Businesses to cover the cost of dealing with litter and anti littering messaging
  • The introduction of new design requirements for packaging
  • An obligation to review the PRN system to which many of you are subjected

The FPA is part of the DEFRA stakeholder group and will continue to consult with DEFRA, The Packaging Federation, INCPEN and the material trade associations to ensure a strong response is made to the Commission on the circular economy proposals that will exert a major impact on the way you plan your business.