EXPRA’s Regional Balkan Workshop on EPR and packaging waste management, organized by EXPRA Macedonian member PAKOMAK, was held in Skopjie, North Macedonia, from September 27-29. The Macedonian Environment Minister Naser Nuredini also join the workshop and highlighted the main future challenges in the waste sector in North Macedonia and the potential of EPR to shape the system in a better way.

EXPRA members from Bosnia-Herzegovina EcoPak , ECOPACK Bulgaria, Romania Eco Rom Ambalaje , Greece HERRCO, Turkey ÇEVKO, Hungary ÖkoPannon, Czech Republic EKO-KOM, and excellent connections such as Sekopak, APEAL, and Cyprus joined the workshop to exchange best practices and experiences and to seek possibilities for strengthening cooperation, supported by online contributions from Spain Ecovidrio and Italy CONAI, with the participation of 11 EPR systems in total.

During the workshop, the overview of 2020- 21 country results and 2022 estimates were discussed, with a focus on North Macedonia, as well as the legislative updates on packaging waste management in the different Balkan countries. EXPRA MD, Joachim Quoden highlighted updates on the revision of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR), focusing on reuse, waste prevention and recycling. Kyriakos Parpounas, Sustainability Leader of Grant Thornton Cyprus, analyzed the EPR systems in the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries-Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine-examining the waste management sector and key regional issues.
Steve Claus (APPEAL) presented ‘European Producers of Steel for Packaging’, a benchmark for steel for packaging in Europe, giving an overview of the latest packaging legislation.
Dimitris K Papasotiriou (HERRCO), Chairman of the Board of the Public Natural Gas Distribution Company, presented the mission and latest achievements of HERRCO, the Greek EPR system and the cooperation between the government and local authorities and municipalities.
Amanda Fuso Nerini (CONAI), Head of International Affairs of CONAI, presented “How to Achieve National Recycling Targets: Is the DRS System Really Unavoidable?” and gave an overview of Italy, sharing the results of a study commissioned by CONAI on the DRS system. Our Managing Director Joachim Quoden and our Regulatory & Public Affairs Manager Monika Romenska gave an overview of the minimum requirements of the Waste Framework Directive and EPR systems compared to the reality in the Balkans.
The workshop was a valuable opportunity for EPR schemes’ representatives from the Balkan Region to share their experiences and the negative or positive impact of waste sector collection on their operations and activities.