Implications of the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directives on the creation and adoption of sustainable food packaging systems: a USA-France interaction.

This workshop brings national and international policymakers, academia, and industry stakeholders of the packaging supply chain to discuss the implication of the new EU Packaging Waste Directive.

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Implications of the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directives on the creation and adoption of sustainable food packaging systems: a USA-France interaction.

November 18, 2022
Place: MAison de l'universiteĢ, Campus universitaire, Dijon, France

Packaging is critical in ensuring food can be safely contained, protected, and delivered to consumers worldwide. Simultaneously, there is increased demand from stakeholders on the impact of packaging waste on the environment:

i) Consumers are calling for more environmentally friendly packaging;
ii) European retailers are demanding packaging that can be reduced, reused, recycled, or composted, and

iii) European regulators are drafting new regulatory requirements on sustainability and packaging standards that may impose one or more of the following restrictions on packaging:

  • Bans on the use of single-use plastic packaging for certain products,

  • Requirements for Minimum Recycled Content (MRC) in plastic packaging,

  • Requirements to eliminate “Problematic and Unnecessary Packaging,” which is currently unable

    to be recycled or uses too much packaging material,

  • Impose taxes on plastic packaging under Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes that

    fund local recycling activities,

  • Labeling requirements to explain how to recycle packaging and possibly disclose the carbon

    footprint of the packaging.

    The French parliament passed the anti-waste law (LOI n° 2020-105 - AGEC) for a circular economy with five main goals: eliminate disposable plastic, provide consumers with better information, reduce waste and increase recycling, and prohibit companies from developing products that have an embedded expiration date - known as planned obsolescence; and improve production methods. Although all these goals may be well-intentioned, the implementation of some of them has unequally targeted some food products and packaging systems. Furthermore, a revised draft of the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD – Directive 94/62/EC) will be published in the fall of 2022. The revised PPWD Directive will impose more technical challenges and hurdles to identifying and implementing new sustainable packaging solutions and restricting single-use packaging.

    In the current global economy, concerns about implementing sustainable packaging systems affect France and trading countries in the EU, the U.S., and worldwide. If trade partners are not fully aware or synchronized about packaging requirements or cannot implement the newly established packaging requirements, they may lose access to markets.

    The proposed workshop will bring national and international policymakers, academia, and industry stakeholders of the packaging supply chain to discuss the implication of the new EU Packaging Waste Directive on creating and implementing sustainable food packaging systems for the EU and export market. It also aimed at identifying the main food products concerns and priorities for solving these issues and developing a shared understanding of sustainable packaging systems to enhance Franco-American cooperation.

With the support of the Embassy of the United States of America, France

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