Objectives in the EU
The EU circular economic package sets the bar high for business: Currently in the EU, 22.5% of all plastic packaging must be recycled. In Austria it is already 34%. The target for 2025 is an ambitious 50%. In order to achieve this, it is necessary to use raw materials as efficiently as possible and keep them in the cycle for a long time.
A life, as we lead it today, would be unthinkable without plastic. Plastic has turned out to be the best materialalternative in many areas of life in the last half century. Nevertheless, plastic is criticised time and again and brought into question. In Austria 99% of plastic is utilised – other countries, also European – still have an enormous amount of catching up to do.
Give thought from the beginning
2025 – 50% plastic-recycled: this is only possible if thought is already given at the beginning of the value chain that the materials can be collected, sorted and utilised in the best way possible after their use. To achieve future recycling targets, the demand for secondary plastics and the use of high-quality recyclate must also be greatly increased. Here, a joint effort on the part of manufacturers, consumers, local authorities and all stakeholders is required in the economy cycle.
The EU has ambitious goals, but, as we all know, there is no more time to waste. Packaging waste shall be recycled in a large scale: By 2020 – 60%; by 2025 – 65% and by 2030 – 75%!
EU-Circular economic system
The European Commission has defined how a successful circular economic system should appear: Recycling should become a rewarding business for all concerned. The aim is to contain plastic waste and prevent the littering of the seas. Investments should be made and technical innovations mobilised, thereby effecting change throughout the whole world.
The Circular Economy Package
The waste-hierarchy shall function as follows: Avoid, reutilise, recycle, alternative recovery and disposal.
Avoidance: Less material should already be used in production. The products should last longer and be reused. Less “hazardous” materials should be used.
Reutilisation: Checking, cleaning and repairing of whole articles or parts thereof for reutilisation should also contribute to the control of waste.
Recycling: Waste will be converted into a new substance or product, or composted, whenever
Alternative recovery: Whether anaerobic digestion, burning for energy generation or pyrolysis for the generation of fuels, there are also many possibilities available here.
Disposal: As small a part as possible should be brought to landfill or taken for burning without energy recovery.
EU – Action Plans
The European Commission has devised action plans for the areas of production, consumer waste management and secondary raw materials.
Action Plan – Production
This action plan already begins at the product design stage and continues throughout the manufacturing process. It takes account of durability, reparability, recycling or reutilisation and, last but not least, the end-of-life costs.
Action Plan – Consumption
This is where product information, energy efficiency, product components and repair and recycling possibilities, as well as the so-called eco-fingerprint are put under the microscope.
Action Plan – Waste Management
Higher recycling targets are set here. There is a stricter differentiation with packaging materials. A reduction in landfill is sought, as well as a simplification in the calculation of waste volumes. In addition, an early warning system will be installed.
Action Plan – Secondary Raw Materials
Uniform quality standards are specified. Fertilisers and plastics are to be produced. The wastewater is to be put to better use than previously. All of these action plans will help to achieve the goals of the circular economy in Europe in the near future. Of course, binding legal submittals are also required.
Packaging Regulations 2014/2016
The aim of the packaging regulations 2014 (WO) is the reuse of
packaging and the avoidance of packaging waste. Except – if not
avoidable – the preparation for reuse, recycling and other forms of reutilisation of such waste, to reduce the waste mass. In addition, the restriction in the use of dangerous substances in packaging, to make a contribution to the protection of human health, the prevention of danger to nature and to achieve environmentally sound recycling and disposal of packaging waste
WO – Obligated
The so-called “Primary-obligated” are all companies that put packaging into commercial use in Austria, so manufacturers and importers of packaging, bottle fillers and importers. In addition, end consumers, as well as collection and recycling systems are obligated in the spirit of the regulation. Only carriers, commercial agents and packaging intended for export are exempt.
WO – What is new?
- The importation of service packaging or packaged goods is already considered as placing on the market.
- There is an obligation to make use of a collection system for household packaging.
- There is a competition between several collection and recovery systems in the household sector.
- There is a strict distinction between household and commercial packaging and, therefore, an increased expenditure due to the packaging differentiation regulation (Novelle 2016).
- A considerable, additional cost is applied to packaging brought to the market by distance selling (domestic and international).
- The registration periods have been shortened.
The packaging differentiation regulation
The Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism has defined, by regulation, that proportion of packaging that, though conforming fundamentally to the definition of household packaging, accrues in sources other than households. Vice versa, the proportion of packaging considered to be commercial packaging, though accrued in households, was also defined in this way.
The Path and the Goal
All these innovations and regulations are not easy to review. ALPLAindustrial has, therefore, as a service to its customers and partners, gathered together a few useful links, to provide further information.