A review by Amir Samadijavan
The European Green Deal and the new Circular Economy Action Plan aim to have all packaging recyclable and reusable by 2030. The new regulation updates the EU legislative framework for packaging and packaging waste. The specific objectives are:
- Reduce packaging waste
- Promote the circular economy in a cost-effective manner
- Promote use of recycled content in packaging
This Regulation applies without prejudice to Union regulatory requirements for packaging such as those regarding safety, quality, the protection of health and the hygiene of the packed products, or to transport requirements, as well as without prejudice to the provisions of the Directive 2008/98/EC as regards the waste hierarchy.
according to Directive 2008/98/EC
The new regulation will replace the Directive 94/62/EC, the ratification by EU Parliament will probably take another 2 years. The aim of this article is to provide an insight to all stakeholders in FIBC industry.
What you need to know about this new regulation, (latest revision, November 30th, 2022)
- Changing legal status from Directive to Regulation, it means the same legislative act will be applicable to all member countries without member states having to ratify the act into its domestic laws
- ‘producer’ means any manufacturer, importer or distributor, who irrespective of the selling technique used, makes available packaging for the first time within a territory of a Member States on a professional basis under its own name or trademark.
- ‘Secondary raw materials’ means materials that have been obtained through recycling processes and can substitute virgin materials = post-industrial material
- ‘post-consumer plastic waste’ means plastic waste that is generated from plastic products that have been placed on the market
- ‘life-cycle’ means the consecutive and interlinked stages of a packaging life, from raw material acquisition or generation from natural resources to final disposal
- ‘Producer responsibility organisation’ means a legal entity that financially or financially and operationally organises the fulfillment of extended producer responsibility (EPR) obligations on behalf of several producers
- the sum of concentration levels of lead, cadmium, mercury and hexavalent chromium present in packaging or packaging components shall not exceed 100 mg/kg by weight
- As of 1st January 2030, Packaging shall be recyclable, it complies with the design for recycling criteria by means of including 70% recyclability
- As of 1st January 2035, packaging to be considered as recyclable if it is recycled at scale, by means of covering the demand of minimum 75% of EU population
- As of 1st January 2027, the EU shall be empowered to adopt the design for recycling criteria and performance grade for all packaging categories
- As of 1st January 2031 the EU be empowered to adopt a methodology to assess the collection, sorting and recycling at scale of packaging
- From 1st January 2030 plastic packaging shall contain the following minimum percentage of recycled content recovered from post-consumer plastic waste, per unit of plastic packaging:
- 25 % for contact sensitive plastic packaging.
- 50 % for single use plastic beverage bottles.
- 45 % for plastic packaging other than under letters (a) and (b).
- From 1st January 2040 plastic packaging shall contain the following minimum percentage of recycled content recovered from post-consumer plastic waste, per unit of plastic packaging:
- 50 % for contact sensitive plastic packaging.
- 65 % for single use plastic beverage bottles.
- 65 % for plastic packaging other than under letters (a) and (b).
- By 31 December 2026, the Commission shall adopt an implementing act, to establish the methodology for calculation and verification of the percentage of recycled content recovered from post-consumer plastic waste, per unit of plastic packaging, and the format for the technical documentation.
- As of 1 January 2030, each unit of packaging shall be scaled down to its minimum size, as regards its weight, , volume and layers of packaging, with due account taken of the packaging’s safety and functionality. The empty space ratio shall be max. 25%
- From 1 January 2030 transport packaging used between different sites shall be reusable
- Economic operators delivering goods to another economic operator within the same Member State shall use only reusable transport packaging for the purpose of the transportation of such goods
- Packaging is ‘reusable packaging’ where:
- it has been conceived, designed and placed on the market with the objective to be re-used or refilled;
- it has been conceived and designed to accomplish as many trips or rotations as possible in normally predictable conditions of use;
- it can be emptied or unloaded without damage to the packaging preventing its re-use;
- it is capable of being emptied, unloaded, refilled or reloaded while ensuring compliance with the hygiene requirements;
- it is capable of being reconditioned, whilst maintaining the packaging’s ability to perform its intended function;
- packaging can be emptied, unloaded, refilled or reloaded without risk to the integrity of the product and to the health and safety of those responsible for doing so; and (g) packaging fulfills the requirements specific to recyclable packaging when it becomes waste.
- Each Member State shall reduce the packaging waste generated per capita, as compared to the packaging waste generated per capita in 2018 as reported to the Commission, by 5% by 2030; 10 % by 2035; and 15% by 2040
Labelling and Marking Requirements:
- Packaging shall be marked with a label containing information on its material composition to facilitate consumer sorting.
- Packaging shall bear a label on packaging reusability and a QR code providing further information on packaging reusability including the availability of a system for re-use and of collection points and facilitating tracking the packaging and the calculation of trips and rotations. In addition, reusable sales packaging shall be clearly identified and distinguished from single use packaging at the point of sale.
- Labels and the QR code referred shall be placed, printed, or engraved visibly, clearly legibly and indelibly on the packaging. The same apply on all waste receptacles accordingly
Obligations of Economic Operators:
- Before placing packaging on the market, manufacturers shall carry out the relevant conformity assessment procedure, or have it carried out on their behalf, and draw up the technical documentation in accordance with EU declaration of conformity
- Manufacturers shall indicate on the packaging or on a QR code their name, registered trade name or registered trademark and the postal address.
- Manufacturers shall ensure that procedures are in place for series production to remain in conformity with this Regulation
- Before placing packaging on the market, importers shall ensure that the appropriate conformity assessment procedure has been carried out and the technical documentation drawn up by the manufacturer; the packaging is marked accordingly; the packaging is accompanied by the required documents; and the manufacturer has complied with the relevant requirements
- Before making packaging available on the market, distributors shall verify that: producer, who implements extended producer responsibility (EPR) for the packaging is registered in a register of producers; the packaging is marked in accordance with Regulation; and the manufacturer and the importer have complied with the requirements set out in the regulation
Extended Producer Responsibility
- Producers shall have extended producer responsibility for their packaging in compliance with the requirements of Article 8 and Article 8a of Directive 2008/98/EC
- Producers may entrust a producer responsibility organisation authorised to carry out the extended producer responsibility obligations on their behalf
Return and Collection System
- Member States shall ensure that systems are set up to provide for the return and/or collection of all packaging waste from the consumer, other final user.
- The systems shall also apply to imported products under non-discriminatory conditions,
- no later than 31 December 2025 a minimum of 50 % by weight of all plastic packaging waste will be recycled
- no later than 31 December 2030 a minimum of 55 % by weight of all plastic packaging waste will be recycled
- composite packaging and other packaging composed of more than one material shall be calculated and reported per material contained in the packaging
- packaging waste exported out of the Union shall be counted the attainment of the of this Regulation by the Member State in which it was collected only
- Member States shall establish an effective system of quality control and traceability of the packaging waste to ensure that the conditions laid down in the regulation are met
Challenges for FIBC industry
Transition from linear to circular economy is a great approach and to be supported by plastic packaging but there are still several challenges the industry needs to overcome:
- 70% of FIBC imported from India and other non-European countries, the challenge will be to utilize this quantity in a European close-loop recycling system. A cost-effective solution needs to consider and include this big quantity as feedstock.
- FIBC is a very high performing and cost-effective packaging solution, having a high-quality and sufficient recycled feedstock with comparable price level is the key for implementation of EU regulation.
- Having a Design for Recycling guidance is an important prerequisite for a successful collection/sorting system and good quality recycled feedstock at the same time. It is positive that the major representations of European FIBC supplier; Efibca and Eurojute elaborate jointly a practicable guideline. It is of high importance that the guideline considers customer/market requirements and doesn’t limit innovation across the supply chain.