Members of the Permanent Materials Coalition, including the Association of European Producers of Steel for Packaging (APEAL), European Aluminum, the European Container Glass Federation (FEVE) and Metal Packaging Europe, have welcomed the plenary adoption of the European Parliament’s report on the European Commission’s Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP) 2.0.

A cornerstone of the European Green Deal, the CEAP 2.0 is designed to strengthen the European Union (EU) Economy, protect the environment and ensure that the resources used are kept in the EU economy for as long as possible.

As permanent materials—aluminum, glass and steel have the potential to be recycled over and over again, without losing their inherent properties and contribute to maintaining circular material loops, the Coalition said.

The Permanent Materials Coalition noted that Members of the European Parliament have highlighted four key issues to improve the functioning of the Circular Economy for packaging, including:

  • the concept of permanent materials,
  • improved separation during collection,
  • the role packaging plays in product safety and
  • the need for informed consumers.

Permanent materials concept

“We were pleased to note that today’s vote recognizes the key role of permanent materials in the transition from a linear to a fully circular economy,” said Alexis Van Maercke, Secretary General of APEAL. “Permanent materials that retain their inherent properties after recycling will enable Europe to keep valuable resources in an endless material loop of new products and packaging.”

Alexis Van Maercke of APEAL

Improving separate collection

“Today’s vote has underlined how separate collection of waste is a prerequisite for high-quality recycling,” said Maarten Labberton, Director Packaging Group of European Aluminum. “Whilst we support new measures to improve and harmonize existing collection systems and develop high-quality sorting and recycling infrastructure, these should respect best practices, local contexts and well-functioning existing systems.”

Essential role of packaging for product safety

“Packaging serves multiple functions and we are pleased that the report underlines the essential role of packaging for product safety, in particular food safety and hygiene, and for reducing food waste,” said Adeline Farrelly, Secretary General of FEVE. “Glass, aluminum and steel packaging are materials that can extend shelf-life and play an important role in this fight against food waste.”

Key role of consumers in waste prevention and waste management

“Maximizing consumer involvement in waste prevention and management is vital if we are to establish a truly circular EU economy,” commented Leonie Knox-Peebles, CEO of Metal Packaging Europe. “The new Circular Economy Action Plan acknowledges the key role that consumers have to play here, but also recognizes that Member State authorities must facilitate this, by ensuring consumers are adequately informed about how to sort and dispose of their waste and that they can do so easily and conveniently.”

The Permanent Materials Coalition has noted the European Parliament’s call on the Commission to propose product-specific binding targets for recycled content but believes that this demand-side driver is not effective for materials such as aluminum, glass and steel, which already have well-functioning markets for high-quality recycled materials.

The EU is demonstrating global leadership in the drive to move from a linear to a real circular economy, the Coalition stated. With respective recycling rates of 76%, 76% and 82.5% in 2018, the aluminum, glass and steel sectors are top performers for recycling packaging materials and are well positioned to play a key role in this transition, the Coalition noted.