On the one hand, natural resources are shrinking. On the other hand, mountains of waste are growing. Nowadays, packaging manufacturers must take responsibility for their environmental impact. This is why the CANPACK Group has been creating a network for the recovery of used aluminium cans in Poland for over 20 years. Currently, its recycling rate is already over 80 percent.

However, in order for a packaging recovery system to bring such good results, it has to be organized in a reasonable way.

What can business do?

Thinking about low waste management should start with a project. An example of „eco-design” could be e.g. an aluminium can, which, due to the raw material used for its production, can be recycled many times.

This is not all. Recycling is only a certain, very important element of closed-loop economy. However, it is important to really move from „waste” to „raw material” economy.

In Poland, the largest companies introducing packaging to the market have been contributing to the costs of the packaging waste management system for years. However, due to the new provisions of the Waste and Packaging Directives, the situation requires changes.

This transformation should be evolutionary and must be based on the improvement of the existing system based on professional organization of the market for recovery and recycling of packaging waste. This, on the one hand, would reduce the operational burden on those entities that place packaging on the market. On the other hand, it would ensure that the management of packaging waste is handled by specialised entities.

We must remember that gradual changes would step by step eliminate the defects and risks of the current extended producer responsibility system and also ensure the required increase in actual recycling rates in Poland.

Trilateral cooperation

The dialogue between market stakeholders and public administration representatives has been going on for months. The CANPACK Group, through CP Recycling Organizacja Odzysku Opakowań SA, actively participates in the dialogue.

However, before any regulations are introduced, the legislative process should be preceded by an analysis of the current legal status from the point of view of the implementation of circular economy. And only after that should the works on the road map towards circular economy be completed and more detailed legislative acts be adopted, such as those implementing the waste package, including amendments to the Act on waste and the Act on packaging and packaging waste management, e.g. with regard to extended producer responsibility, as well as eco-design..

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However, in order to effectively implement the idea of circular economy, cooperation between business and administration is not enough. The consumer is also important.

In order for an aluminium can to be reused, the consumer should throw it into an appropriate container with similar secondary raw materials. Without the cooperation of the customer, the whole scheme won’t work.