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2019 Roundup: The EU’s Circular Economy Package

December 16th, 2019

EC4P first reported on the EU’s new Circular Economy Package (CEP) in June 2018 when France announced plans to exceed the requirements of the CEP. Since then, most member states have suggested amendments to their regulations to transpose the CEP ahead of the 05 July 2020 deadline.

This update gives a brief overview of the notable actions that certain member states have taken during 2019 and what it could mean for packaging producers in 2020.

Further Action in France

Guided by the Circular Economy Roadmap, France has continued to be proactive in preparing new CEP initiatives. One expected amendment will obligate online retailers to prove that all of the products sold through their platform have had an ‘eco-contribution’ paid on their behalf – increasing non-complaint producer’s exposure to penalties.

The Circular Economy in Finland

Finland has also been very proactive in planning their transposition of the CEP and promoting their commitment to creating a circular economy, increasing their recycling rate and achieving carbon neutrality by 2035. The 'Plastic Roadmap Network', submitted a report on implementing the CEP in September 2019 and suggested:

  • The removal of the ‘small producers’ exemption for packaging producers
  • more obligations for distance sellers and e-commerce platforms
  • introducing modulated fees

Whilst these amendments are being considered, Finland's latest schedule of legislative projects plans to meet the CEP transposition deadline.

The Circular Economy in Italy

Although it was expected that before the end of 2019 a Decree would make EUR 140 million available for circular economy research and development projects, how Italy will transpose the CEP is still very unclear. For example, a draft of the 2020 Budget Law planned to introduce a tax of EUR 1 per kg on plastic packaging and certain Single Use Plastic (SUP) products from April 2020. The tax is open to modulation and includes incentives to use biodegradable materials but it was so heavily criticised by industry that the Italian Government have already backtracked with an amendment to half the tax. Full details on the scope and how this will be implemented is expected in early 2020.

The Circular Economy in the Netherlands

The Netherlands first released plans to create a circular economy in 2016 and although several agencies have subsequently worked on developing indicators to progress the circular economy, little progress has been made. A draft Decision on EPR may change this as it plans to uniformly impose fundamental requirements on producer responsibility organisations (PROs) for all waste streams under a single text. Released for comment in July 2019 and if adopted ,would apply from 2023, PROs would be required to:

  1. Digitally and publicly publish information RE. ownership, the recycling fees paid by producers, and the selection procedure for waste management operators
  2. Apply modulated recycling fees
  3. Present producers with common reporting requirements

The Circular Economy in Slovenia

A draft regulation on Packaging and Packaging Waste, released in June 2019, proposes to transpose the amendments of the EU's Circular Economy Package (CEP) and to fix the shortcomings of the current packaging regime. The draft notably proposes:

  • To implement the same producer obligations for household and non-household packaging
  • To make foreign entities obligated as a producer when distance selling packaged goods to household or non-household users, and service packaging to non-household users, by assigning an 'authorised representative'
  • To remove the current small producer exemption threshold and instead, producers with a turnover below EUR 40 million may estimate POM rather than use ‘exact numbers’ to limit the administrative burdens, if permitted by the compliance organisation

How will you comply with the CEP in each member state?

EC4P continually monitor the evolution of WEEE, Batteries and Packaging legislation around the world and the EU’s CEP is just one area of development which will bring new requirements, challenges and opportunities for producers. EC4P offer a range of services to help companies manage their extended producer responsibilities. This includes keeping clients up to date with legislative changes, assessing whether any action is needed and identifying the best solutions to ensure compliance. For full details about our services please contact us.