Packaging and packaging waste: Waste as a valuable resource

18 November 2020

Making the transition to a circular economy requires a rethink on waste, so that it can be deemed to be a valuable resource. For cities, which are responsible for the vast majority of sorting and collecting waste, through their municipal services, it’s clear that there is still space for improvement.

For instance, as is set out in a new policy position by the Eurocities network, “packaging design does not sufficiently consider the difficulties of treating and separating packaging waste.” This leads to increasing costs of sorting waste for city authorities.

Packaging and packaging waste is a “burning issues for the planet,” as the cities network contends. The ambition, which is part and parcel of achieving a fully circular economy, must be to capture waste packaging and bring it back into the production chain.

This includes working further up the production cycle, with packaging designers for example, to ensure that products are designed with reuse and recycling in mind.

All packaging must be reusable or recyclable by 2030 and the new packaging and packaging legislation should include clear definitions on what is considered to be ‘reusable’ and ‘recyclable packaging’, according to the network.

More financial support for cities would also help to shift the cost burden from local authorities to producers of packaging. Placing costs on producers would give them an incentive to reduce those costs by eliminating unnecessary packaging, ensuring packaging is readily recyclable, funding recycling activities and infrastructure, supporting business models for reusable packaging and using recycled material.

Read the full position here.


Louise Coffineau Policy Advisor (Water, Circular Economy, Climate)