Within the Circular Economy and Waste Department, I manage ADEME (the French Environment and Energy Management Agency) packaging-related activities, from ecodesign to recycling packaging waste. Many ADEME-led studies include a dedicated chapter on packaging: ecodesign, labels, environmental communication, eco-consumption, sustainable nutrition, etc.
On the subject of packaging waste, ADEME provides authorities and stakeholders with its expertise in monitoring and streamlining Extended Producer Responsibility (ERP) for household waste. We also promote industrial and trade waste recycling when they fall outside the scope of ERP.
As it pertains to European directives, the Agency also handles France’s performance assessment when it comes to packaging valuation.
Two primary achievements stand out over these past years:
One of the measures taken in the second National Pact against food wastage for 2017-2020 is to promote the development of innovative practices against food wastage, in every stage of the food chain, packaging included.
In 2011, the CNE published its first fact sheet on packaging’s role in preventing wastage. Since then, many studies and experiments have been conducted, especially by ADEME, in order to better understand the stakes involved and find possible actions for positive effects.
For ADEME, it is crucial to take these new findings into account and to be able to keep an open mind when analysing the different stages in which packaging plays a role, from product design to consumer. For each of these steps, the Working Group has to help specify the role that can be expected from packaging in this food wastage issue.
This issue relates to various subjects such as product consumption, adequate quantities, or bulk selling. Besides, packaging must be able to better integrate the food wastage issue while taking ambitious stances about reducing waste at the source and packaging recyclability.
The CNE was able to bring together all stakeholders in the food waste issue: packaging manufacturers, distributors, consumer and environmental collectives, etc.
This gathering created an opportunity to discuss and confront many different points of view in a spirit of constructive collaboration, around a technical, economic, environmental, social and behavioural subject.
The CNE is working with the French Ministry of Ecological and Solidarity Transition to organise a workshop centred around reusing industrial and trade packaging. ADEME is very much implicated in this effort; and I think it will help establish a situational analysis and identify a possible course of action to further develop this practice, as it appears to be the most relevant and least harmful solution.
These ideas will require further research and actions for the CNE to participate in.