In an open letter to the European Parliament, Vytal, Interzero, Bumerang, and other players in the reuse industry call for a ban on single-use packaging for on-site consumption, mandatory reuse quotas across all industries, and measures against reuse loopholes to be introduced to the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation.

Titled ‘PPWR as a Major Opportunity for Massive Economic Value Creation and Sustainable, Global Competitive Advantage for Europe’, the letter frames itself as ‘a clear request to seize the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) as a significant economic, ecological, and social opportunity for Europe’.

Circulware, Kleen Hub, Pyxo, reCIRCLE, Recup, Relevo, Retoornado, Re-uz, WeCarry, Wobz, and Zerooo have also signed the letter.

It warns that serving food in single-use packaging on the eatery’s premises is ‘no longer ethical’, citing a recent publication from the European Commission’s JRC Publications Repository exploring the environmental performance of alternative food packaging products.

Furthermore, it gestures towards the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s report, ‘Unlocking a reuse revolution: scaling returnable packaging’, in its suggestion that ambitious, mandatory, and cross-sectoral reuse targets are introduced. The signatories raise the example of a 40% target for takeaway food for 2040 and assert that it should be possible to add targets for other products in the future.

There should not be any room for industry players to avoid the reuse quotas, the letter adds; for instance, exemptions for cardboard single-use packaging and certain reuse rates are discouraged.

In a LinkedIn post, Vytal founder Dr. Tim Breker commented: “In an era where sustainability isn’t just an option but a necessity, we, the European Reuse Industry, are calling on the Members of the European Parliament to champion a monumental shift.

“Our message? Embrace the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) as a golden opportunity for Europe – not only to lead the global charge in environmental stewardship but to unlock significant economic and social value.

“We stand at the precipice of change. The choice to pivot to a reuse-centric model is more than an ecological imperative; it’s an opportunity to drive economic growth, create jobs, and position Europe as a global leader in the reuse industry.

“As we pen this open letter, we invite every stakeholder, innovator, and citizen to be a part of this transformation.”

This development comes after the European Council’s General Approach was revealed late last year. It proposed new reuse and refill targets for 2023 and 2024, constituting large household appliances, takeaway food and beverage packaging, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages (excluding wine), transport packaging (except for packaging for dangerous goods or large-scale equipment and direct food-contact flexible packaging), and grouped packaging.

This stance was soon supported by the New European Reuse Alliance, B Lab France, Roundtable for Reusable Containers Trays and Pallets, Pro Mehrweg, Reusable Packaging Europe, Mehrweg Verband, Réseau Vrac et Réemploi, and the Porto Protocol Foundation. In their own open letter, these companies posited that the previous draft was an ‘insufficient response’ to the waste crisis and argued that ambitious reuse targets would help Europe achieve environmental and economic progress.

Not everyone in the packaging industry is so optimistic, however. The Brewers of Europe previously argued that, where wines and spirits are exempt, the General Approach holds beer packaging to reuse and deposit return scheme targets for ‘no reason’ – making its proposed rules ‘discriminatory’.

UNESDA Soft Drinks Europe also feared that reuse and recycling are being treated as separate processes when, in its view, they should be complementary.

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