December, 2014


Dear Readers,

Circular Economy has certainly been the buzzword of 2014. In July 2014, the European Commission published a legislative proposal to review recycling and other waste-related targets in the EU, including in the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD). While certain aspects of the package required improvement, EUROPEN has supported the overall growth and environmental objectives of the proposal and has engaged constructively with the EU institutions to make the necessary adjustments. In view of the Commission’s announcement on 16 December to withdraw the current Circular Economy package and develop a “more ambitious” Circular Economy package in 2015, EUROPEN is calling on the Commission to come forward with a new legislative proposal without delay early 2015, as announced in its Work Programme for 2015.

EUROPEN will continue to support the objectives to move further towards a circular economy and will work constructively with the European Institutions to ensure that any new Circular Economy proposal effectively addresses the substantial challenges that remain to achieve better implementation of the PPWD and to ensure that Extended Producer Responsibility for used packaging remains a cost-effective compliance option for producers/importers to meet European and national packaging recycling targets.

In view of the Commission’s decision to withdraw the current Circular Economy package, a number of our planned activities in 2015, e.g. participation in the European Parliament’s Environment Committee hearing on the subject in January 2015 and our planned February workshop with the European Parliament Rapporteur, might need to be rescheduled. Our key priorities are to take stock of ongoing policy discussions on the EU Circular Economy package this year and early next year, seek further clarifications on the next policy steps and formulate our views on the essential elements for our industry in a new or modified legislative proposal, working together with the EU Institutions in this regard in the course of 2015.

In the meantime, on behalf of all of us at EUROPEN, I wish you a festive holiday season. If you have any questions, comments or news to share, please feel free to contact us at


Virginia Janssens
Managing Director


Circular Economy should remain firmly on Commission agenda in 2015

In view of the Commission’s announcement on 16 December that the Circular Economy package would be withdrawn, EUROPEN is calling on the Commission to come forward with a new or modified Circular Economy proposal without delay in 2015, as recently announced in the European Parliament by Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans. The review of the EU Waste Acquis, as part of the Circular Economy Package, would have provided an ideal opportunity to enhance industry’s ability to carry out its legal EPR obligations under the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD) and to help reach packaging specific sector/company objectives.

EUROPEN remains supportive of the objective to move further towards a ‘closed loop’ circular economy and has signaled its willingness to work constructively with the Commission on the announced “more ambitious” legislative proposal by the end of 2015.


Plastic carrier bags proposal adopted; marketing restrictions softened but still undermine Single Market for packaging

Yesterday, Member states endorsed at the Environment Council meeting the  agreement reached on last 17 November with the European Commission and the European Parliament to reduce the consumption of lightweight plastic bags in the European Union.

The European Parliament and the Council have reached a compromise on amendments to the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD), which will require Member States to either introduce a charge or equally effective measure by 2018 or measures which will reduce the per capita consumption of single use plastic carrier bags. 


EPR an effective packaging waste policy tool, EUROPEN economic instruments study finds

EUROPEN has published a report on “Economic Instruments in Packaging and Packaging Waste Policy” in the EU Member States, and some European Economic Area countries. The report presents an overview of the existing economic instruments, including: extended producer responsibility (EPR), tradable permits, publicly controlled levies or taxes in place of EPR, variable charging (pay-as-you-throw), recycling rewards, packaging eco-taxes or “product charges”, beverage container deposits, landfill/incineration taxes, and packaging taxes or taxes as a fine for non-achievement of recycling targets. The Economic Instruments booklet is for sale for non-members on the EUROPEN website (hard copy €25 and electronic version €20). 




Danone adopted an Environmental Charter in 1996 and defined a ten-year plan and objectives in 2000. The group boosted its efforts in 2008 by setting the goal of reducing the greenhouse gas emissions in its direct scope of responsibility by 30% in five years, a goal that was surpassed at the end of 2012. Looking ahead to 2020, Danone has identified four key focus areas for its commitments: climate, water, packaging and agriculture. Our packaging-related commitments are outlined in this article.



Innovations for even-more sustainable packaging

Packaging plays a key role in protecting, distributing and using the contained products. Many doubts arise when a company has to choose between the various types of packaging materials, showing different and, in most cases, unique characteristics. What is important is that packaging materials, regardless of their differences, all meet specific objectives to be achieved within an environmental framework. Thus, the essential requirements in the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive act as real drivers for the achievement of even more sustainable packaging. 


EUROPEN publications

  • Economic Instruments in Packaging and Packaging Waste Policy (for sale for non-members on EUROPEN’s website)
  • EUROPEN analysis on Packaging and Packaging Waste Statistics 1998-2011. Available for FREE on EUROPEN website 

Look out!  – EUROPEN website soon to be updated with an entirely new page on the Circular Economy policy developments in 2015, offering a platform to access key expert information from the packaging supply chain on the real issues at stake.

Calendar for EUROPEN Members

 Next meeting dates 2015

  • Council of Members: 18 March, 14 October 
  • Executive Committee: 4 February, 10 June, 15 September, 9 December 
  • Sustainability & Regulatory Affairs Committee: 28 January, 20 May, 24 November  

Where you can meet us

Please take the time to introduce yourself to us at one of the following conferences where we will be presenting or attending

  • Packaging Waste & Sustainability Forum 2015, Brussels, 25-26 February 2015, organised by Informa Agra. Register here: EUROPEN members may contact the EUROPEN Secretariat for a special 20% discount code.

  • IdentiPlast; Rome, 29 April 2015, International Conference on Recycling and recovery of plastics

EUROPEN Membership

In addition to the first 4 companies that joined EUROPEN this year, we are pleased to welcome the following companies to the EUROPEN family:

  1. DSM is a global Life Sciences and Materials Sciences company active in health, nutrition and materials. DSM produces food and dietary supplements, personal care, feed, medical devices, automotive, food packaging, paints, electrical and electronics, life protection, alternative energy and bio-based materials. Read more about sustainability at DSM. 
  2. Michelman is a global developer of water-based barrier and functional coatings for flexible film packaging, paper board and corrugated cartons and water-based surface modifiers, additives and polymers for numerous industries including wood and floor care, industrial coatings, inks, fibers, composites, and construction products. Read more about sustainability at Michelman. 
  3. SLICPEN is the Slovak industry association for Packaging and the Environment, which was founded in 1994, and it comprises companies which operate on the Slovak market, particularly in the manufacturing, import and distribution of consumer packaged goods. Read more about SLICPEN

Learn more about our members through their annual sustainability reports, links to which can be found on our website, and in our video. 

Not a EUROPEN member yet?

Changes to a key piece of EU legislation for any company that is actively committed to improving the environmental performance of their packaging and packaged products in a European single market are in the pipeline. Companies need to stay aware of how it will affect their business and how their voices can be heard in a cost-effective way. As an authoritative and trusted voice of the packaging supply chain as a whole for the EU decision-makers, engaging through EUROPEN is instrumental,” states EUROPEN Chairman Martin Reynolds.

What can EUROPEN membership bring to your business? 

  • Insight and analysis on EU policy developments and their potential impact on the packaging supply chain
  • Participation in cross-industry initiatives to help shape EU policy and legislation
  • Detailed status reports on national packaging laws and regulations
  • Access to members-only EUROPEN publications

Find out more about EUROPEN membership’s added value to your company here

Follow us on Twitter @europepackaging.

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