CPI criticises proposed cardboard exemption changes to EU PPWR


cardboard packaging

The Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) has raised “profound concerns” about proposed amendments to the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR).

The CPI is calling upon European decision-makers to support the cardboard exemptions in the PPWR, saying it is crucial to support the UK and wider European economy. Removing the exemptions could potentially lead to a 12 million-tonne increase in plastic consumption, undermine the circular economy, and impede decarbonisation efforts, the CPI says.

The Confederation says the exemptions “recognise the sustainability” of cardboard and the “adverse consequences” of including cardboard under the scope of reuse targets. The proposed removal of these exemptions, currently under discussion in the EU, presents a “significant threat” to the industry, the CPI says.

The CPI is “deeply concerned” that applying reuse targets to corrugated cardboard transport packaging, describing the move as “counterproductive” which would hinder the regulation’s ability to improve the environmental impacts of packaging.

The move could have “existential consequences” for the cardboard industry, the CPI says. The Confederation says reuse targets for transport packaging inherently favour plastic packaging over recyclable materials like cardboard, which could flood the market with billions of harder-to-recycle plastic crates.

A one-size-fits-all approach to packaging regulations risks undermining the well-functioning paper packaging circular economy.

This will also increase the EU’s reliance on fossil resources, the CPI says, calling reuse targets “inherently anti-innovation” as they act as a barrier to the introduction of new packaging formats.

The CPI’s initial estimates suggest that removing the exemption for cardboard could result in an additional 2.7 billion plastic crates, weighing 4 million tonnes, entering the market by 2030. By 2040, the estimates suggest this figure could rise to 8.1 billion crates, weighing 12 million tonnes.

Andrew Large, Director General of CPI, commented: “A one-size-fits-all approach to packaging regulations risks undermining the well-functioning paper packaging circular economy in favour of an explosion in the numbers of fossil oil-based plastic crates and unproven reuse systems.

“The revisions to PPWR will have a significant effect on consumers across Europe, and CPI urges the EU to support existing well-known and well-used recycling systems, such as those for cardboard.”

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