Case

Many hands make light work: securing sustainable packaging by 2025

Challenge

Large quantities of plastic packaging abound in the retail sector. The EU has set a target that 50 per cent of plastic packaging waste should be recycled by 2025 and the Danish government has also established a number of goals in its Climate Plan from June 2020. To fulfil these objectives, Danish companies will need to pay for the waste disposal of packaging used for their branded products by 2025. Therefore, the Danish retail sector must contend with several key challenges, namely how can the use of plastic packaging be reduced, as well as increasing the amount of packaging that is either recycled or reused, in an effort to fulfil the EU target and comply with upcoming Danish regulations?

Solution

Given its size and wide-ranging impact on citizens’ everyday lives, the retail sector has sufficient weight to be able to influence producers to create more environmentally friendly packaging and also make it easy for consumers to choose sustainably packaged goods and products. Therefore, the retail sector in Denmark has entered into a partnership with the Danish government to devise ways with which to ensure more sustainable packaging and increase recycling percentages.

Known as The Plastic Partnership, the first step is to establish common design principles for plastic packaging, including packaging using for transporting e-commerce transactions. Another initial, primary focus is to help ensure the prevalence of recycling solutions and a reduction in the use of single-use plastics used for takeaway food.

The partnership consists of the Danish Ministry for the Environment, the Danish Environmental Protection Agency, supermarkets, shops selling staple goods, producers of branded products, the recycling industry, and packaging producers.

Results

The partnership consists of concrete targets that will need to be met within the next five years:

  • The creation of common, circular design principles for food and non-food packaging, including e-commerce packaging
  • All plastic packaging must be reused or recycled in an economically feasible way and consists of a minimum of 30 per cent recycled material by 2025.
  • Reduce the use of plastic packaging, including contributing to testing new solutions and increasing the prevalence of recycled packaging.
  • Reduce 50 per cent of certain single-use plastic takeaway products by 2026 in the retail sector.

Progress will be assessed against a baseline of 2018. The partnership means that the retail sector will contribute substantially to fulfilling the targets outlined in the EU’s packaging directive and the Danish government’s Climate Plan from June 2020.

Contributers

The Danish Chamber of Commerce, The Danish Environmental Protection Agency, COOP, Plus Pack, Orkla, Salling, Lidl, Dagrofa, Aldi, REMA 1000, Elgiganten, Matas, Imerco, Jysk, Bauhaus, Schou Nordic, Ragn-Sells, Færch, and Netto. 

About author

The Danish Chamber of Commerce is the network for the service industry in Denmark. It is one of the largest professional business organisations in Denmark with more than 240 employees, offices in Copenhagen, Aarhus and in Brussels.

Primary contact
Kristian Lund Kofoed

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