The paper-based packaging value chain proposes to make better use of the synergies between the EU revised forest strategy and the ongoing policy work on packaging. Without coherent approaches to packaging, circular economy, climate policy and forest strategy, the policy will not be able to achieve an optimal outcome.
Paper- and board-based products have in the preparation of the legislative proposal for the Single Use Plastics Directive ((EU) 2019/904) specifically been assessed by the European Commission services and found to be a sustainable alternative to single-use plastic products; made with sustainably sourced fibres and with the highest recycling rate of all packaging materials paper-based packaging is a truly circular product.
The industry has set a target to reach 90% recycling rate for paper and board packaging by 2030, setting the bar beyond legally binding targets, focusing in particular to advancing circularity of less circular segments of the industry such as away-from-home and on-the-go packaging and food service materials.
Whilst active in innovation for new products and materials, the sector is already with existing products able to substitute 4.5MT of plastic packaging without any loss of functionality. This would also lead to a significant saving of fossil emissions of 85% compared to emissions of the current plastic packaging.
Paper and board packaging is also essential for the resilience and functioning of internal market; without packaging, the internal market and EU export markets would not be able to function.
It also provides much needed safe and hygienic packaging and supplies for essential industries and has been playing its part in the current Covid19 crisis. Wood-based packing value chain helps Europe reduce its dependency on fossil-based resources, achieve climate-neutrality and sustain healthy ecosystems.
Food contact materials need to meet both equally important food safety and environmental requirements. The specific food safety requirements need to be recognised in the upcoming EU Forest Strategy. Based on these justifications, we propose the following amendments to the draft EU Forest Strategy, see here.