European Industry Bands Together for Packaging Reduction

Brussels, Belgium

Nearly 70 companies have signed up to a European industry commitment to address ballooning packaging waste.

By the start of this week, 67 businesses had joined the Cycling Industry Sustainable Packaging Pledge, coordinated by the Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry (CONEBI) and Cycling Industries Europe (CIE) to reduce plastic packaging and eliminate unnecessary packaging from the supply chain.

The industry-wide commitment has also received support from a dozen peak industry bodies in a number of European nations.

“In 2019, the volume of packaging waste in the EU reached a record high of 79.3 million tonnes, 60% of which was paper, cardboard and plastic,” according to a statement from CONEBI and CIE.

“The UN Sustainable Development Goals estimate by 2050 the resource of three planets will be required to sustain the lifestyles of one.

“These increasing waste volumes are inflated by excessive and unnecessary packaging designs which, alongside-single use models, non-recyclable materials and plastic entering our natural environments, are creating numerous challenges for our planet, climate, and biodiversity.

“While customer and retail-facing packaging provide companies the creative opportunity to design packaging solutions which reflect their own values and sustainability ambitions, this only accounts for a proportion of our industry-wide packaging waste.”

It says the industry’s “complex, global and often shared supply chains” also create significant amounts of packaging that can be often overlooked.

“As an industry, we are uniting behind a shared vision of creating a circular economy for packaging, contributing to the European Commission’s goal for a new circular economy,” says CONEBI and CIE.

Circular economies are based on three principles:

  • eliminating waste and pollution
  • keeping products and materials in use
  • regenerating natural systems

The Cycling Industry Sustainable Packaging Pledge underpins a shared vision for the cycling industry and has been endorsed by cycling advocacy group People For Bikes.

For plastic specifically, it is inspired by and closely aligned with the vision of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Initiative, also adopted in a ‘Global Commitment’ led by the foundation in collaboration with the UN Environment Programme.

The CONEBI and CIE vision comprises:

  • packaging designed to maximise protection of goods while minimising empty space during shipment, to ensure an optimised (end-to-end) carbon footprint
  • eliminating problematic or unnecessary packaging through redesign, innovation, and new delivery models is a priority
  • Reusing materials where possible to reduce the need for single-use packaging
  • ensuring packaging is 100% reusable, recyclable, or compostable
  • when virgin materials are needed, they should come from renewable sources in the future
  • giving preference to ‘mono materials’ (single materials) to increase recyclability
  • keeping packaging   free of hazardous chemicals
  • respecting the health, safety, and rights of all people involved

Signatories to the pledge are committing to:

  • sharing and endorsing the common vision for more circular and sustainable packaging solutions with supply chain partners
  • working with supply chain partners to reduce problematic plastic packagings and eliminate unnecessary packaging within their supply chain by 2025
  • working with supply chain partners to ensure all supply chain packaging is reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025
  • working with supply chain partners to increase recycled content within packaging materials by 2025
  • creating customer/retail facing packaging commitments, which align with or exceed the common vision by 2025
  • sharing progress and update with the wider cycling industry through the CONEBl/CIE Sustainability Working Group forum

Join the Conversation:

Would you like to see a similar commitment to reducing packaging in Australia?

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