EconomyEnvironmentEurope

MEPs wrap up vote on tougher ‘green’ packaging standards

The European Parliament's committee has backed a two-pronged scheme that would oblige manufacturers to make their packaging more environmentally friendly.

The proposal, put forward by Dutch Socialist MEP Dorette Corbey, would compel packaging manufacturers to show they have taken “all necessary steps” to minimise their products' environmental impact by using more recycled materials. It would also require manufacturers to slash the amount of packaging they use.

“The packaging has developed tremendously over the last [few] years,” Corbey said. “Nevertheless, the amount of waste is still increasing. Therefore, we must focus on prevention.”

Under the prevention part of the scheme – which has initially been tabled to come into force in 2004 – packaging manufacturers will be assessed on the amount of greenhouse gases emitted from production up to and including the disposal phases. The will be charged with setting the acceptable limits for CFC gases, Corbey said.

The Dutch Socialist had also proposed to oblige manufacturers to increase their content of recycled materials in packaging to 55% by 2006. MEPs voted to push the target further to 65% and also to extend the deadline to 2008. Corbey says that the scheme will promote environmental competition between manufacturers.

Packaging makers greeted the environment committee's vote cautiously. “We are broadly sympathetic to the ideas approved by the Parliament's environment committee,” said Julian Carroll, director-general of Europen, an umbrella group of packaging manufacturers and users. Carroll noted that producers would have preferred later target dates, but welcomed provisions for an assessment of the environmental and market impact of the new directive.

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But the packaging industry feels it has been singled out and has called for the adoption of a broader, long-term view that will consider the environmental impact of the product manufacturing and distribution. “You shouldn't just look at the box. You also need to look at what's in the box,” Carroll pointed out.

The full assembly will have its first reading of the draft in September, after which it will go to the council of environment ministers to hammer out a common position on the directive.

________

This article appeared in the 11-17 July 2002 edition of The European Voice.

Author

  • Khaled Diab

    Khaled Diab is an award-winning journalist, blogger and writer who has been based in Tunis, Jerusalem, Brussels, Geneva and Cairo. Khaled also gives talks and is regularly interviewed by the print and audiovisual . Khaled Diab is the author of two books: for the Politically Incorrect (2017) and Intimate Enemies: Living with Israelis and Palestinians in the Holy Land (2014). In 2014, the Anna Lindh Foundation awarded Khaled its Mediterranean Journalist Award in the press category. This website, The Chronikler, won the 2012 Best of the Blogs (BOBs) for the best English-language blog. Khaled was longlisted for the Orwell prize in 2020. In addition, Khaled works as communications director for an environmental NGO based in Brussels. He has also worked as a communications consultant to intergovernmental organisations, such as the EU and the UN, as well as civil . Khaled lives with his beautiful and brilliant wife, Katleen, who works in humanitarian aid. The foursome is completed by Iskander, their smart, creative and artistic son, and Sky, their mischievous and footballing cat. Egyptian by birth, Khaled's life has been divided between the and Europe. He grew up in and the UK, and has lived in , on and off, since 2001. He holds dual Egyptian-Belgian nationality.

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Khaled Diab

Khaled Diab is an award-winning journalist, blogger and writer who has been based in Tunis, Jerusalem, Brussels, Geneva and Cairo. Khaled also gives talks and is regularly interviewed by the print and audiovisual media. Khaled Diab is the author of two books: Islam for the Politically Incorrect (2017) and Intimate Enemies: Living with Israelis and Palestinians in the Holy Land (2014). In 2014, the Anna Lindh Foundation awarded Khaled its Mediterranean Journalist Award in the press category. This website, The Chronikler, won the 2012 Best of the Blogs (BOBs) for the best English-language blog. Khaled was longlisted for the Orwell journalism prize in 2020. In addition, Khaled works as communications director for an environmental NGO based in Brussels. He has also worked as a communications consultant to intergovernmental organisations, such as the EU and the UN, as well as civil society. Khaled lives with his beautiful and brilliant wife, Katleen, who works in humanitarian aid. The foursome is completed by Iskander, their smart, creative and artistic son, and Sky, their mischievous and footballing cat. Egyptian by birth, Khaled’s life has been divided between the Middle East and Europe. He grew up in Egypt and the UK, and has lived in Belgium, on and off, since 2001. He holds dual Egyptian-Belgian nationality.

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