On the 25th of November 2020 ACE, the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment, co-hosted a virtual event with POLITICO Europe, “Will the EU be ready for all packaging to be sustainable by 2030?”. ACE convened a high-level panel with experts on sustainable packaging to discuss packaging’s contribution to a low carbon circular economy.
The panellists included:
- Florika Fink-Hooijer, Director General for DG Environment, European Commission
- Jan Huitema, MEP (Renew Europe, Netherlands), Rapporteur for the ENVI Committee on the Circular Economy Action Plan
- Jane Muncke, Managing Director, Food Packaging Forum
- Heike Schiffler, Vice President, Sustainability, Europe and Central Asia, Tetra Pak
Annick Carpentier, Director General of ACE provided introductory remarks, with the panel moderated by Eline Schaart, sustainability reporter for POLITICO Europe.
The panel touched upon many topics, such as the European Commission’s Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP), and how the CEAP is committed to improving the reusability and recyclability of packaging materials, as well as reducing packaging waste. Heike Schiffler, the industry representative on the panel, stressed that, “Consistency is important, the overriding goal must remain climate neutrality. In terms of the depth of packaging regulations legislation, there is always an emphasis on recyclable and reusable materials but there is not an emphasis on low carbon renewable materials, and I think that needs to change’’. She went on to say, “We should not compromise on any requirements. This is not to say we only focus on carbon, but we also want to focus and not compromise on recyclability’’.
Later in the discussion, Ms. Schiffler made the following point, “Food safety is the number one topic for consumers today and they go for a packaging material they trust and packaging material with a long shelf life. The pandemic has shown that using packaging such as beverage cartons provides a safe, secure and sustainable packaging solution.”
During the event, the audience had the opportunity to respond to two polls and the panellists had the opportunity to hear the audience’s opinion about the future of sustainable packaging within the EU. The results supported a key theme from the event; by 2030 packaging placed on the market should be able to be fully recycled with the support of infrastructure systems that enhance the recycling process.
If you were unable to attend, or would like to listen to the discussion again, you can find the replay link here. You can view the online discussion on Twitter and Facebook by using the event hashtag, #PackagingEU.
ACE – The Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment – provides a European platform for beverage carton manufacturers and their paperboard suppliers to benchmark and profile beverage cartons as a safe, circular, and sustainable packaging solution with low carbon benefits.
ACE members include beverage carton producers Tetra Pak, SIG Combibloc, and Elopak. They develop, manufacture, and market safe, circular, and sustainable systems for the packaging and distribution of food and beverages, and produce packaging material at 20 plants in Europe. Around 98% of the paperboard used by ACE members to produce beverage cartons in Europe is produced by Stora Enso in Skoghall (Sweden) and Imatra (Finland), and BillerudKorsnäs in Gävle and Frövi (Sweden), who are also members of ACE.