9 June 2022

PRESS RELEASE: The revision of the EU’s packaging and packaging waste rules: putting life cycle thinking at the heart of the circular economy

(Brussels, 09 June 2022) —
The European Paper Packaging Alliance (EPPA) today hosts a panel discussion on the upcoming revision of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD) and the role of sustainable paper packaging solutions in the EU’s circular economy agenda.

In the feature presentation, respected engineering consultancy Ramboll will present their latest Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study which challenges the common perception that reusable tableware used in quick service restaurants delivers the best overall environmental outcome. 

Their study concludes that single-use paper-based packaging consumes substantially less energy and water than multiple-use packaging, and produces far fewer CO2-equivalent emissions, thus delivering “very significant” environmental benefits in 6 out 9 impact categories compared to multiple-use and plastic packaging. 

The panel discussion will explore what the PPWD has in store, how it could be improved, and what it could mean for European citizens, businesses and the environment. 

Commenting on the event, Eric Le Lay, President of the European Paper Packaging Alliance (EPPA), said: 

Today, we will see clear evidence that multiple-use solutions are not always the best choice for the environment. Making reusables mandatory, just in quick-serve restaurants, would be the equivalent of adding one million petrol cars to Europe’s roads and would consume the freshwater needs of a city of 750,000 people. 

“EPPA fully supports a revision of the rules on packaging and packaging waste in order to achieve a climate-neutral continent by 2050, but any change must be science and evidence-based. The European Commission must champion solutions that achieve the best environmental outcome and put life cycle analysis at the heart of the circular economy action plan. Renewable, recyclable paper packaging is one of these solutions.”

Antonio D’Amato, Vice President of the European Paper Packaging Alliance (EPPA), also commented: 

“Packaging plays a vital role not just in food hygiene, safety, preservation, portioning and transport, but also helps cut food waste, which accounts for 10% of total global greenhouse gas emissions today. 

“Ramboll’s LCA not only shows that paper-based packaging has a lower impact on CO2 than reusable systems, but also highlights that the higher the recycling rate, the greater the environmental benefits. Our goal is to make a significant contribution to decarbonising Europe. Looking at freshwater consumption, the negative impact of reusable tableware rises dramatically from 3.4 times to 228 times the amount of water used when the recycling rate increases to 70%. Saving water is an important part of that, with water stress becoming a significant environmental problem for Europe and the World. The current emphasis on reusable materials merely hinders our ability to achieve these goals.” 

The event, which takes place in partnership with Euractiv, can be attended online and will feature contributions from European Commission policy officer Dr Wolfgang Trunk, Emiliano Micalizio from the independent consultancy Ramboll, Elsa Agante from Euroconsumers, Ronan Breen from Deliveroo and David Schisler from EPPA. Registration is open here.

About EPPA
The European Paper Packaging Alliance (EPPA) is a not-for-profit association representing food and food service packaging companies from across Europe. EPPA’s priority is to provide paper-based, low carbon and health-safe products with a low environmental impact and improved recycling solutions to the European population. EPPA supports science-based EU policies that foster sustainable and efficient use of resources, and recognises the major role that packaging, as an essential infrastructure, can play in that common objective. 

Back to news