European Commission Interview

Smithers are excited to share an exclusive 60 second keynote interview from Sustainability in Packaging Europe 2019 with Maja Desgrees Du Lou, Policy Officer, European Commission.

Q. Why did you choose to tackle this topic?

2019 marks a change in the European Union with a new Commission taking office later this year. After the adoption of a first Circular Economy Action Plan in 2015, the new President elect, Ms von der Leyen, has already announced her aim to make Europa a world leader in circular economy. 

Q. What is the new European Commission strategic agenda 2019-2024?

Both the EU Heads of State and Government in their recent strategic outlook for the years ahead and the Commission President Elect in her Political Guidelines give a prominent place to a green agenda, announcing for instance a “European Green Deal” and a new Circular Economy Action Plan.

Q. How will this new strategy impact the packaging industry?

Modern waste management is a key building block of the transition to a circular economy. Various pieces of waste legislation regulating specific products are up for review in the next years, including packaging legislation, to maximise their contribution to circular business models.

Q. What are the next steps planned at European level on packaging in a circular low carbon economy? 

With an annual average of 170 kg packaging waste per EU citizen, the problems around recyclability of e.g. plastic packaging and new trends like increasing e-packing, a modernisation of the rules in the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive is considered for next year.

Q. What sort of partnerships and collaborations do you think will be necessary to drive the packaging industry forward?

Close involvement of the different industry actors across the whole value chain, from designers and producers to retailers and recyclers will be essential to accelerate the transition to a circular low carbon economy with more sustainable packaging options for consumers. 

Q. What is one thing you hope to learn or discuss with your peers at this  Sustainability in Packaging EU conference?

How to move up packaging on the waste hierarchy to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Q. Why do you feel it’s important for companies to attend Sustainability in Packaging EU 2019?

To move forward together!