Considering the need to preserve our natural resources, the “producing, consuming, disposing” model is being increasingly challenged in favor of one advocating circular economy. The IEC (Institute of Circular Economy) is one of its most fervent defenders.
Its general representative, Grégory Giavarina, explains this recent concept and how it ties into the packaging circuit.
What is circular economy?
Circular economy is a new social, environmental and economic model based on the separation of economic growth from the use of natural resources. Its goal is to limit as much as possible the latter, by relying on recycling (of course), but also eco-conception, saving on functionality, reemployment, reusing, repairing, collaborative consumption, the sharing economy… Its implementation requires great changes in consumption, production and business model, favoring use and lifespan of products over their ownership, as well as give priority to recycling and reusing the products’ components.
How was the IEC created and what is its purpose?
The Institute of Circular Economy was created a year and a half ago; its objective is to promote circular economy and kickstart it. Its main action is the mobilisation and federation of the people invested in this activity, both public and private, across all industries. Indeed, we number nearly 150 members today, among which approximately a hundred structures and some fifty personalities with very different profiles: large companies, communities, NGOs…
What are your main means of actions on this day?
Currently, we have three strategic focuses and eleven work groups, created conjointly with all of our members in order to assess the drawbacks and shortcuts to French circular economy. Our action is also based on political influence – we try to act on regulations. For instance, we managed to pass an amendment to the law on consumption, asking the government a report on social and economic matters, related to circular economy. Last, we also aim to bring this subject into the spotlight, notably by organizing conferences or events such as the first Foundations for circular economy which took place on June 17th, for which we collaborated with the ADEME (Agency for Environment and Energy Mastery).
How did you start working with the CNE?
The CNE being both interested and invested in circular economy topics, it was only natural for us to come together to exchange our thoughts on the subject. It is with great pleasure that we hold it among our members today. Packaging and eco-conception issues are at the heart of the stakes for circular economy. Furthermore, the knowledge and expertise of the CNE and its numerous members on the subject are of great value to us, and must be used to further our collective thinking.
The CNE is, precisely, about to publish a document entitled “packaging and circular economy”. What lesson do you think should be learned from this?
I acknowledge the CE’s initiative in writing this summary report. It fully explains that the packaging industry has already started working towards its transition to circular economy. Important steps are being taken regarding recycling, but also eco-conception, reusing, reduction at source, or even industrial ecology. The implementation of the REP sector (Extended Producer Responsibility) certainly allowed a faster and greater commitment of our industry. Other options should also be explored, such as the stakes regarding the development of refundable containers, bulk sales of produce or organically sourced plastics.