The Packaging Waste Sustainability Forum 2024, Europe’s premier packaging conference, provided a comprehensive platform for stakeholders to explore sustainability from policy to production and from materials to waste management. This year’s event featured significant contributions from EXPRA members and partners, showcasing innovative approaches to sustainable packaging and waste management.

Our Italian EXPRA member, CONAI – Consorzio Nazionale Imballaggi, was prominently represented by Amanda Fuso Nerini, Head of International Affairs, alongside esteemed speakers Axel Darut, Public Affairs Associate at Minderoo Foundation, and Emmanuelle Bautista, Head of European and International Affairs at Citeo. Together, they tackled the intriguing topic, “Science Fiction – What Should the Optimal PRO Look Like?” Amanda emphasized the critical role of Producer Responsibility Organisations (PROs) in shaping industrial and innovation policies, highlighting how extended producer responsibility systems can drive substantial progress in the circular economy and waste management.

On the second day, Fabio Scorza, representing International Affairs at CONAI, participated in a compelling panel session titled “Rewarding Selective Collection.” Joined by Justin Wood, Vice President and Head of Europe, Middle East & Africa at the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, Fabio shared insights on strategies to enhance waste infrastructure and management. He highlighted a groundbreaking project in Bari, Puglia, Italy, which became the first Italian city to initiate selective collection trials for five packaging materials: steel, aluminum, paper, plastic, and glass. Additionally, four new eco-stations were inaugurated, further promoting selective waste collection efforts.

Esteemed speakers like Maja Desgrées du Loû from DG ENVI played pivotal roles in the forum. During the discussion titled “Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation: Making it Happen,” she explored the reactions and implementation challenges of the PPWR, emphasizing the need for concerted action along the entire packaging and waste value chain. Francesca Siciliano Stevens, CEO at EUROPEN, contributed to the discussion on “Achieving Sustainability & Boosting Circular Economy in Europe through the PPWR,” addressing packaging reduction, sustainable solutions, new innovations in packaging design, and strategies for meeting the PPWR targets.

The first day of the forum featured the highly successful EPR Toolkit Seminar, organized by EXPRA. This seminar was part of Europe’s premier packaging conference, offering stakeholders a platform to delve into sustainability topics. EXPRA Managing Director Joachim Quoden moderated the initial three sessions, where various EXPRA members shared their expertise. Francis Huysman (Valipac) discussed the potential of EPR systems for C&I packaging in reducing the CO2 impact of industries. Paul Christiaens (Verpact) provided insights into fee modulation in the Netherlands, explaining its operational mechanics. Steven Boussemaere (Fost Plus) highlighted the Belgian strategy to combat litter through EPR, showcasing its effectiveness in managing litter.

The first day of the EPR Toolkit Seminar concluded with the traditional EXPRA Networking Dinner. This event offered a valuable opportunity for EXPRA colleagues to meet face-to-face, reconnect, and stay informed about the latest industry developments and strengthened professional relationships among attendees.

Overall, the Packaging Waste Sustainability Forum 2024 underscored the importance of collaboration and innovation in advancing sustainable packaging practices. With contributions from key industry players and EXPRA members, the event highlighted the collective effort required to drive the circular economy and improve waste management systems across Europe.