I have been following the discussion around the Circular Economy Packaged since last year in order to understand the challenges and the implications around the recycling targets. I have seen a lot of criticism suggesting that the work has been focused on the recycling targets rather than waste prevention through product design.
A successful transition towards a circular economy requires action at all stages in the value chain: from the extraction and transportation of raw materials, through material and product design, production, distribution and consumption of goods, repair, remanufacturing and reuse schemes, to waste management and recycling.
Therefore, in February 2015, the Commission announced the withdrawal of its legislative proposal to be replaced by a new, more ambitious initiative that fully reflects interactions and interdependence along the whole value chain, rather than focusing exclusively on one part of the economic cycle.
A new package is therefore promised to be issued by the end of the year which is more ambitious and completes the loop by addressing product policy, as well as, the use of secondary, recycled materials in new products.
Today I have taken the time to respond to the public consultation where they expect to receive input from stakeholders and the public to help them to pinpoint and define the main barriers to the development of a more circular economy and to gather views regarding which measures could be taken at EU level to overcome such barriers.
The situation in Europe is certainly different from the Brazilian reality. However, my 10 year experience working in the sustainability arena in the UK with both government and industry; and the last 4 years having worked for the Brazilian plastic industry discussing packaging design and sustainability among international clients, has helped me to develop a holistic view of the situation and the confidence to present my recommendations to the package.
In summary, everyone has a role to play: consumers should re-think their habits and the way we consume. The government should create rules and provide incentives to eco-design including the use of recycled material and finally the industry should redefine business models, product and service development to go beyond quality and price offerings, but deliver value and experience to their consumers.