AIM, the European Brands Association, is calling for an EU harmonised model for consumer sorting instructions to empower citizens and at the same time to take away unnecessary burden from manufacturers.
In order to boost a circular economy and achieve the EU (packaging) recycling targets by 2025/2030, set out in the Packaging & Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD) and Waste Framework Directive (WFD), the collection rates in the EU must increase. Alongside industry’s efforts to establish a better and more efficient collection, sorting and recycling infrastructure for post-consumer waste, it is essential to engage consumers now to achieve this goal. This can be done by already improving the separate waste collection rate at consumer level, increasing consumers’ awareness about the need to sort and recycle, and including them as relevant actors in the management of waste. At the moment, there is little useful and often inconsistent (non-harmonised) information regarding waste disposal aimed at consumer. At the same time also the complexity of waste management systems in Europe needs to be taken into account: There is no harmonised EU approach with divergent waste management systems and sorting obligations in place across different Member States and sometimes even within a specific region. Last but not least, the proliferation of national labelling schemes and requirements in individual Member States bears the risk of single market fragmentation and, in the worst case scenario, could result in 27 different mandatory on-pack labels within the EU.
AIM brands therefore advocate for harmonising sorting information for consumers throughout the EU. We believe that the approach of an actionable product identification symbol which is put on pack by manufacturers and which corresponds to the symbols that are put on waste bags/bins by the waste management operators/municipalities would be an efficient and workable solution for industry, the waste sector and consumers, who would just need to pair the symbols on the packaging with the ones on the waste bag/bin.