EXPRA General Assembly meeting in Sofia was, on this occasion, accompanied by an external event entitled “The Extended Producer Responsibility’s contribution to Circular Economy Implementation”. The latter took place in the National Archaeological Museum and was organised alongside the Bulgarian Presidency as part of the official agenda of the EU’s Informal Environmental Attachés meeting.
National representatives from Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Cyprus, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, Hungary, Slovenia, France, Lithuania, Spain, Croatia, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Romania, Slovakia, Poland, Latvia, Portugal, Czech Republic, UK and Malta were present at the event. Others included members of the European Commission and the Council of the EU.

The Bulgarian Deputy Minister of Environment and Water, Ms Atanaska Nikolova, also joined us during the networking part to greet our members and support our role in the circular economy.

The event kick-started with introductory words from Mr Kalin Iliev, Head of Environment Unit in the Bulgarian Permanent Representation and our President William Vermeir, followed by a presentation delivered by Cees de Mol Van Otterloo, Director of Afvalfonds Verpakkingen and member of EXPRA’s Board.

Key messages conveyed during the presentation included EPR schemes’ commitment to the implementation of the waste legislation, underlining opportunities and challenges facing the Member States and how EXPRA’s members are gearing up to respond to them. The new recycling targets and the EU’s plastics’ ambition were at the heart of the discourse.

EXPRA also launched a call for an industry-policy partnership that would help bring the Circular Economy to life.

The ensuing exchange of views with the attachés was moderated by EXPRA’s Managing Director, Joachim Quoden. The event concluded with bilateral conversations between our members and their representatives over Bulgarian wine-tasting.

The gathering was a unique opportunity to showcase EXPRA’s leadership in EPR expertise and best practice in packaging waste management. It also helped echo EXPRA’s key messages regarding the Circular Economy to both EU and national officials. Our 5th Anniversary thereby found its way into a forum that offered an innovative format for debate.

Several EXPRA members took the chance to fix formal meetings and exchange views on national issues at a later stage. We are also already being contacted to provide an informed opinion of the transposition process by the some of the national officers that attended our event.