On November 30, 2022, the European Union released its proposal to revise legislation on packaging and packaging waste. The goal is to help harmonize action across member states while supporting the shift to a low-carbon and circular economy. Proposed targets include:
- All packaging recyclable or reusable by 2030.
- All packaging recycled at scale by 2035.
- Minimum recycled content in plastic packaging by 2030.
- Progressive reduction in plastic packaging usage by 2040.
There could also be impacts to ecommerce as the ratio of empty space in packaging in relation to product(s) is maximum 40%. These targets, among others, are expected to reduce waste and support innovation such as reuse/refill solutions. Ultimately, the new rules will have to be approved by the European parliament and EU member states.
Last week, RCC also participated in the Reuse Symposium and a working group policy consultation led by the EU and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC). A mix of stakeholders were represented including retailers, brand owners, municipalities, solution providers and NGOs. While interesting and innovative refill/reuse solutions were presented during these sessions, RCC recommended further studies and pilots to determine the environmental and economic impacts of such initiatives when scaled and has suggested that ECCC support with grants and incentives as they have for climate mitigation programs. RCC has also recommended that any policy consider the need for common definitions and standards, as well as alignment with Health Canada requirements.
With the EU’s new packaging legislation, it is believed that reuse policy will continue to be developed abroad and is being considered in Canada by ECCC. RCC will continue to monitor these developments and help frame reuse policy in Canada so that it makes environmental, technical and economic sense.