What did the debate on the State of the European Union tell us about the future of sustainable packaging?
Members of the EU Commission gathered in Strasbourg on 14 September for the State of the European Union conference. Following a rousing speech by President Ursula von der Leyen, the debate began in pursuit of ‘sustainable and digital’ progress for the continent. But what kind of future was being promised, and where will packaging fall within it? What impact will the EU’s ‘green transition’ have on the push towards sustainability, and how far can we expect it to go? Leading up to the conference, EUROPEN managing director Francesca Stevens warned that “the lack of availability of sufficient and appropriate packaging can put at risk the security of essential systems such as the food and pharmaceutical sectors, disrupting products’ distribution, and availability across the entire EU.
White House unveils strategy to grow trillion-dollar U.S. bioeconomy
The U.S. bioeconomy is booming. Valued at nearly one trillion dollars and predicted to grow globally to over $30 trillion over the next two decades, bioproducts now include everything from the food that we eat to the vaccines we put in our arms. Plant-based burgers, recyclable bioplastics, concrete, clothing, and microbes for mining minerals are just a few of the latest bio-based products coming to market. To support this booming bioeconomy, the White House announced that President Biden will sign an Executive Order creating a National Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Initiative.
Canada takes further steps on plastic recyclability, composability and tracking
Already on July 25, 2022, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Steven Guilbeault, launched consultations on two proposed changes to Canada’s plastic products regulatory regime: increasing the stringency of plastics labelling and introducing a federal plastics registry. With respect to labelling, Canada has proposed new regulations that would prohibit the use of the chasing-arrows symbol and other recyclability claims on plastic products unless at least 80% of Canadians have access to recycling systems that accept and have reliable end markets for the products. With respect to the plastic products registry, Canada has proposed the creation of a national registry to collect data on the life cycle of plastic products in Canada. Under this regime, producers of plastic products would be required to report the quantity of plastic products they place on the Canadian market and how such products are diverted from landfills at the end of their lives.