The European Commission’s latest plan for a circular economy includes, among other things, a ban on small sugar packets and the introduction of biodegradable fruit labels, while Estonia’s contribution includes proposal to standardization of glass bottles across companies. In 2009, the EU created 66 million tons of packaging waste, compared to 78 million tons in 2019. Glass and metal packaging are utilized less frequently, whereas cardboard and plastic packaging are used more commonly.

Kristel Kund, adviser at the environmental management department of the Ministry of the Environment, said that one of the goals of the new circular economy package is to reduce the amount of packaging. The majority of the commission’s proposals, however, concern the future of packaging. For instance, it should be made explicit which packaging can be considered bio-degradable. Kristel Kund said this will be packaging that is biodegradable under industrial settings, i.e., it would not not necessarily be bio-degradable in the yard with potato peels and oatmeal. Nevertheless, the commission wants to see more bio-degradable packaging.

“Tea bags, coffee capsules, fruit and vegetable labels, and especially thin plastic carrier bags must be bio-degradable to encourage the collection of bio-waste. This packaging should be collected alongside the organic waste it contains.” In addition, the commission would like to make it easier for people to decide which container to put their waste in.


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