Glass bottle manufacturers warn that new packaging proposals could make glass bottles start to look the same.
The European Container Glass industry welcomes the European Parliament’s Environment (ENVI) Committee vote amending the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) to promote full packaging circularity.
However, the industry remains concerned that Intellectual Property Rights for packaging are not protected.
The risk is that packaged products will start to look the same.
Creative designs and iconic shapes will gradually disappear, and commercial value will be squandered because brands can no longer stand out from each other on the shelves.
While the industry appreciates the Environment Committee's recognition of proprietary packaging designs to some extent, it falls short of expectations.
It welcomes the acknowledgment of packed products with Geographical Indications and design rights, but regrets that Intellectual Property Rights as a whole are not protected.
Adeline Farrelly, Secretary General of the European Container Glass Federation (FEVE), said: “We fear this will result in standardised packaging and the gradual demise of brand differentiation. We are committed to ensuring that glass packaging solutions, agreed with our customers, are designed with the minimal necessary weight and volume.
“However, we believe this measure restricts creative designs and iconic shapes of bottles often reflecting cultural heritage products to be placed on the market in future. This will massively dent the economic value these products bring to Europe and beyond.”
The most effective approach to reducing packaging waste is to switch as much as possible to materials that can be reused and infinitely recycled in a closed loop.
The vote acknowledges that materials such as glass are highly recyclable. This is welcome. Recyclability performance grades are a big step forward to a truly EU Circular Economy.
These grades, a first of their kind, will reward packaging that can be recycled multiple times and that can feed into a closed material loop scheme.
Ms Farrelly said: “Separate collection and sorting are the prerequisite to guaranteeing high-quality recycling processes and to the fulfilling of the recyclability criteria. We therefore support the introduction of a mandatory 90% collection for recycling target.”