What are the latest developments concerning environmental legislation globally? We’ve picked out some highlights for you for July 2021.

Slovenia leads the Council’s positioning on the Battery Regulation

5 July 2021

On 1 July, Slovenia took over the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union and, therefore, the lead on the Council’s activities on the new Battery Regulation.

The country’s delegation will be responsible for working out a common position, together with the other member states, for the upcoming trialogue negotiations with the European Parliament.

One of the most controversial topics remains the planned change of the legal act from a directive to a regulation. At a meeting with representatives of the European Commission in June, some member states expressed concerns that a regulation would deprive them of the necessary flexibility regarding existing EPR schemes and thus jeopardise their operation.

The Parliament’s lead Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety also met with representatives of the Commission in June. The discussion primarily focused on the industrial policy dimension of the new regulation.

The responsible rapporteur, Simona Bonafé, pointed out that in the coming years and decades there will be a significant increase in industrial batteries – for example, those used for electric cars – which will require significant quantities of raw materials. The new legal framework must improve the recycling of batteries to minimise the extraction of raw materials.

Meanwhile, the timetable for the legislative process in parliament has shifted slightly. The Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, which is a Committee for Opinion on the dossier, will now vote on 27 September, instead of 15 July. The delay is due to the huge number of amendments tabled by the committee’s members.

The final vote in the plenary of the Parliament is still planned to take place in February next year.

Landbell Group company, European Recycling Platform (ERP) is in regular contact with member state representatives in the Council, as well as with MEPs from the committees involved. ERP is contributing its experience operating 13 battery schemes across Europe.

Results of stakeholder workshops on revision of EU Packaging Directive

As part of its ongoing impact assessment study on the revision of the European Packaging Directive, the consultancy Eunomia held six workshops in June to discuss the interim results and proposed recommendations with selected stakeholders.

Landbell Group was present at the workshops and took away the following main findings :

  • Overarching measures: According to the study’s authors, green public procurement can play a big role in promoting sustainable packaging. Regarding hazardous substances in packaging, the authors propose updating the definition of “hazardous” and introducing both additional reporting requirements and further restrictions. In addition, reinforced market surveillance is also proposed to harmonise EPR reporting requirements, creating a common data repository.
  • Waste prevention: To reduce excess, too heavy or too large, packaging, the study suggests introducing a new definition of “over-packaging” as well as measures such as top-down reduction targets for member states, a top-runner approach and void space threshold limits.
  • Reusable packaging: Among the proposed measures for improving reusability are specific reuse targets for member states, standardisation of reusable packaging and harmonised labelling.
  • Recyclability: Among the proposed measures for improving packaging recyclability are updating the packaging essential requirements, harmonising the criteria for EPR fee modulation, and harmonised labelling for recyclable packaging.
  • Recycled content: Increasing the use of recyclates is one of the main goals of the Circular Economy Action Plan. Besides setting and revising definitions and measurement methodologies, Eunomia proposes to introduce specific recycled content targets for packaging, including related mandatory reporting.
  • Compostable packaging: The demand for bio-based and compostable packaging is expected to grow by 20% over the next five years. To deal with the growing problem of cross-contamination of recycling streams, several policy options are proposed, including updating the EN13432 standard, imposing criteria for the put-on-market of compostable packaging, and introducing harmonised labelling or watermarking.

The European Commission’s legislative proposal is expected to be published at the end of 2021 or in the first quarter of 2022.

Landbell Group company, European Recycling Platform (ERP) has published a position paper with its comments on the interim results of EUNOMIA’S impact assessment study. You can read the position paper here.

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