After the adoption of the new Waste Legislation, in Europe, but not only, especially during the second half of this year, the key word was PLASTIC. Do we need plastic packaging? Should we not just ban the use of certain products? Why don’t we just drink from the tap or use glass bottles like in the past? How can we stop the marine litter? The European Institutions tried to give answers to these questions via the proposed Singe Use Plastic legislation.
While we at EXPRA fully support the overall goal of this draft piece of legislation, we have to note that this is the first time ever when a legal act was processes in such speed, without exhaustive public consultation, somehow focusing on emotions and not on facts and figures. Further more we are deeply concerned that it is deviating from the shared responsibility principle and likely to trigger legal uncertainty and unfair treatment of producers and EPR schemes across the bloc once transposed on the national level.

While we in Europe are of course proud to be the leader in sustainable waste management and fight with litter, it should be underlined that joint efforts from other Asian and African counties are needed as well, as I could see during the mission to India as a member of the EU delegation of Commissioner Vella. Here, we could see and feel where the plastics in the ocean is really coming from.

And as you could see in our members news section, all EXPRA members are working hard in prevention, promoting sustainable packaging and implementing numerous national and local information and public awareness campaigns. We at EXPRA see these activities as a major prerequisite for the implementation of our mission: to save resources and care for the environment, without making a profit out of it.

Of course, our focus was and will be on the next steps after the adoption of the Waste Legislation – the Implementing Acts being drafted by the EC. As the saying goes the devil is in the details and these acts are of utmost importance for the actual future functioning of our systems. In 2019 as well, we will stay a major counterpart for the European Commission in providing our long-term expertise and practical know-how also for the mission to the 14 Member States that will not fulfil the 2020 targets for municipal waste. It is a great honor and recognition for EXPRA to be asked by the EC be a member of these missions and we will do our best to contribute to finding working sustainable solutions.

Internally, during the EXPRA fall General Assembly meeting in December, we had to say good bye to our founding president William Vermeir who led EXPRA to such a positive and strong alliance. We also elected a new Board and a new President – Cees de Mol van Otterloo, the CEO of our Dutch member, Afvalfonds Verpakkingen, who we are sure, will bring EXPRA and its members to the next level as per our ambitious project EXPRA 2.0.

As we are looking forward to the many new challenges, awaiting us in 2019, I would like to wish you relaxed holidays, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Enjoy your reading!