EPAL statement on the discussion of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation in the European Parliament on November 21, 2023
On 21 Nov 2023, the European Parliament will discuss the proposal for a Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR), which aims to promote the reuse and recycling of packaging.
The European Pallet Association e.V. (EPAL), as an international association with more than 1,600 license partners and national associations in almost all EU countries, supports these goals and the PPWR. The reuse of EPAL Euro pallets in the open EPAL pallet pool has been a prime example of a functioning circular economy for decades and already meets most of the PPWR requirements.
There are currently more than 650 million EPAL Euro pallets in circulation and are used, repaired and exchanged for an average of 7 years before they are 100% recycled and the wood chips are used to make other products such as particleboard.
However, the report by the Environment Committee of the European Parliament (ENVI) contains various changes to the PPWR, which lead to a significant disadvantage for wooden transport packaging such as EPAL pallets, especially in comparison to plastic packaging. This poses the risk that more plastic pallets and fewer wooden pallets will be produced and used in the future.
This consequence clearly does not correspond to the purpose of the PPWR - to reduce plastic packaging and plastic waste. The disadvantages for wooden pallets also indirectly disadvantage the open EPAL Euro pallet pool, which would also affect the further goal of the PPWR - promoting reuse-systems and the reuse of packaging as important parts of a circular economy.
EPAL has therefore addressed the members of the European Parliament with a statement and asked them to take the special properties of the renewable raw material wood into account when defining high-quality recycling and assessing the quality of recycling:
- Wood is a renewable raw material whose processing, unlike fossil raw materials, does not harm the climate.
- Wooden EPAL pallets are reused for many years. This is better than recycling plastic packaging after single use.
- In addition to the production of pallet blocks, wood chips obtained from the recycling of wooden packaging are used in particular for the production of chipboard, which are used as long-lasting products in the construction and furniture industries.
- Wooden packaging such as EPAL pallets can be 100% recycled without leaving any residue (zero-waste recycling) and thus protect the environment.
Along with sending the statement to the Members of the European Parliament, EPAL also published a press release: