Vote on packaging waste in Parliament postponed

The expected vote in the Parliament’s Environment Committee on the revised directive on packaging waste did not take place in June, but was postponed to July. This was due to the complexity of the issue and the partly controversial changes proposed by the rapporteur.

The European Parliament’s Environment Committee was expected
to vote on the packaging report on 18 June. However, the rapporteur
Colette Corbey (NL), who has suggested important changes to the
Commission’s proposal, asked for more time for debates and for
formulations of compromise amendments. The adoption will take place
on 9-10 July. The rapporteur’s main recommendations are:

  • increase of recovery and recycling minimum targets and delete
    the maximum targets;
  • expansion of the scope of the directive to introduce elements
    of sustainable development and integrated product policy
    (IPP);
  • introduce life cycle analysis (LCA) as a tool to determine what
    new products will be allowed on the market.

 

EUROPEN, the organisation for packaging and the
environment, emphasises the difficulties with promoting LCA as a
decision making tool. There are no scientific proofs that LCA will
provide the best environmental option. EUROPEN also states that
extending the scope to general sustainability principles would only
make the directive unclear and less focused.

CEPI, the paper and board packaging industry,
opposes the suggestion to set differentiated material-specific
recycling targets at EU level, as these might lead to possible
market distortions between the packaging materials. However, it
states that the recycling target proposed for paper of 55 per cent,
are challenging but achievable.

FEFCO, the European federation of corrugated board
manufacturers, calls on the Parliament to grant equal regulatory
treatment to reuse and recycling systems of packaging. The
Commission's packaging proposal favours reuse. FEFCO claims there
is no scientific proof for reuse being the environmentally superior
option.

The Parliament's
Industry Committee is writing a contribution to
the Environment Committee. The rapporteur Angelika Niebler
(Germany, PPE) agrees with the Commission to limit the revision of
the directive to the setting of targets. The broader issues
proposed by the Environment Committee should rather be dealt with
in the IPP context.

The Council is also debating the proposal in a
working group. The draft paper by the Spanish Presidency proposes
extended deadlines to fulfil the recycling and recovery targets
from 2006 to 2008.

 

The Commission's proposal of December 2001, is part of a
review of Council directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging
waste. This directive aims to harmonise national measures on the
use of packaging waste to ensure the smooth functioning of the
internal market whilst at the same time providing a high level of
environmental protection. The Commission's proposal is limited to
revision of the targets.

 

The Environment Committee will vote on the packaging report
on 9-10 July. It will then go to plenary session in mid-September.

 

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