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The EU proposes to reduce packaging waste by 15% per country by 2040

This Wednesday, the European Commission presented its proposal for reduce packaging waste by 15% by 2040 per member state per capita compared to 2018, with the obligation to introduce a certification system for the absorption of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Both measures were presented this Wednesday by the vice-president of the Green Pact, Frans Timmermannsand the European Commissioner for the Environment, Virginius Sinkeviciuswithin the circular economy package.

Brussels warnedThe impact of packaging on the environmentsince the carbon dioxide emissions coming from this source are equal to those of the average EU country, where in 2020 177 kg of packaging waste per personwhich represents a total figure of 79.3 million tons in 27 member states.

The proposal includes mandatory reuse or refill targets in sectors such as retail and hospitality and enforcement return system for plastic bottles and aluminum cans. Sinkevicius pointed out that it is about reducing the packaging to the “necessary minimum”, such as, for example, with fresh fruits and vegetables, because “goods are needed, not waste”.

In this sense, one of the ambitions indicated by Timmermans is that by the year 2040, all takeaway coffees will be served in containers that can be reused and refilled, that is, each user will use their own cup, glass or bottle. Also standards will be established at the level European Union (EU) about him excess packaging and the maximum allowed empty space in containers electronic shops, as well as the banning of certain forms of unnecessary packaging or the mandatory possibility of composting for some types of packaging when it is beneficial for the environment.

Likewise, Brussels proposes labeling in all containers to make it easier proper sorting of waste by consumers and appropriate markings on recycling containers to make it clear in which container it must be disposed of. On the other hand, with the increase in the share of recycled materials in the production of packaging, a greater inclusion of bioplastics, biodegradable and compostablethus reducing the use of virgin materials.

Emissions Removal Certification

Packaging waste is harmful to the environment generating carbon dioxide emissions similar to those of small or medium-sized Member States, therefore, as a complementary measure, the Commission also raised introduction of a system for certification of emissions removal.

“Now it is impossible to reduce our gas emissions to zerotherefore we have to promote the absorption of emissions,” said Timmermans, who advocated reliable certification of carbon removal to contribute to the goal of the EU becoming the first continent to reach net zero emissions in 2050.

To ensure the quality and comparability of carbon removals, the standard proposed by the Commission states that removal activities must be accurately measured and provide unambiguous climate benefits, it must go beyond existing practices and as required by law and must preserve or contribute to sustainability goals. In addition, the certificates will be linked to the duration of the carbon storage to ensure that it is permanent.

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