Packaging & Packaging Waste Regulation: Toy industry recommendations to policy makers
As co-legislators are starting final negotiations on the new EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation, toy manufacturers would like to highlight that this is an opportunity to improve European rules for packaging. If the final text protects the Single Market from fragmentation while promoting the achievement of a circular economy, it can minimise waste. TIE would therefore like to highlight the following key elements:
- No national Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) labelling: National labelling obligations related to EPR schemes on packaging will seriously undermine the Single Market and lead to more waste. This is why we do not support the proposal adopted by the Parliament that gives EU countries a free hand on labelling for packaging recycling schemes. We support the proposal by the Council to allow EPR labelling requirement only through digital means like a QR code (Art. 11.8) as this will avoid this pitfall. EPR labels only serve to indicate that companies comply with their financial obligations, which does not bring any added value for consumers and very often confuses them. If various countries introduce such a labelling requirement, it will create a significant burden for any company selling across the EU, particularly small toy manufacturers. They will have to create different packaging per country at an extra cost, or to use larger packaging to accommodate the labels resulting in more waste. Toy packaging is already crowded with for example mandatory warnings and marking (CE-marking). Information that is not relevant for consumers should be presented digitally to avoid consumer confusion, ease business, and strengthen the Single Market. A single QR code should redirect authorities and consumers to any non-essential information such as the EPR contribution. To avoid the need to include several QR-codes or other data carriers, the data carrier should be the same as the one used for the Digital Product Passport under the Ecodesign for Sustainable Product Regulation (ESPR) and (for toys) under the upcoming Toy Safety Regulation (TSR).
- Allow enough time for all producers to adapt and implement the new requirements: Redesigning packaging, investing in the appropriate technology (including packaging lines) and establishing new reuse systems takes time and requires significant investments. Again, smaller producers will be particularly affected as they do not necessarily have the resources that larger enterprises have to ensure timely compliance. Across the legislation, we call on co-legislators to favour reasonable compliance timelines and ensure that any secondary legislation required from the Commission is mandated to be published at least 18 months prior to entry into application of the requirement.
- Set feasible reuse targets for transport packaging with timeline for compliance in 2030: The transport reuse targets (Art. 26) should take into account the impact on the environment and the supply chain, especially for multinational toy producers with decentralised supply chains and the different applications of the transport packaging covered. While reuse of pallets used for transport works in practice, pallet wraps and straps for stabilisation may be difficult to reuse because they could become ineffective or they could contaminate or damage products. In this case, recycling them is a better option, especially if there is a good collection system in place.
- In view of the current limited reuse systems in place for some of the transport packaging (e.g. straps or pallet wrapping), and with uncertainties on how it will develop over coming years, we support the view of the Parliament that 2040 targets should not yet be set for reuse targets under paragraph 7 (pallets, plastic crates, foldable plastic boxes, pails and drums) paragraph 9 (straps and pallet wrapping for stabilization), and paragraph 10 (grouped packaging in the form of boxes for stock keeping unit)
Reusable transport packaging requirements should be set between operators’ own sites and between operators within the same Member State (para. 12 and 13) to 2030 as per the Parliament proposal. In addition, we recommend that the requirements on straps and wrapping are applicable to the same geographical scope (para.9). Also, setting re-use targets that require reverse logistics with sites in other parts of the world (e.g. Asia) may lead to a higher environmental impact.