Interview with Sylvain Pasquier – Sector Coordinator – ADEME Circular Economy and Waste Department

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Interview with Sylvain Pasquier – Sector Coordinator – ADEME Circular Economy and Waste Department

Could you tell us a quick word about your role with the ADEME and the Agency’s packaging-related activities?

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.

The CNE and ADEME share a historical bond “for the best of packaging” (eco-design funding, participation in our Working Groups, etc.); what has this partnership brought over the years?

 Two primary achievements stand out over these past years:

  • First, the triennial study led by the CNE, ADEME, and Eco-Emballages, analysing the evolution of household packaging over 10 mass consumption markets. Thanks to this study, the relative impact of different factors on the evolution of household packaging figures has been identified for the first time, from consumer habits to packaging features. Associated environmental footprints have also been assessed.
  • Second, the practical information documents on ecodesign or environmental claims edited by the CNE with ADEME’s support. These documents are designed to be succinct, functional and accessible to all, and helped communicate with as many companies as possible on the key issues to watch out for.

In the framework of the National pact against food wastage, ADEME is an active supporter of the CNE’s “Packaging’s effect on food wastage in France” Working Group; can you tell us about your involvement with the CNE on this subject?

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.

You’ve taken part in the Working Group meetings; what did you think of this collective intelligence experiment (organisation, reports, speaking time, diversity, etc.)?

 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.

 What are some of ADEME’s packaging-related concerns that could be investigated by the CNE within its Working Groups or any other information means (morning briefing, etc.)?

 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.