EU packaging rules need to be realistic: A thriving hospitality sector depends on it
Let’s unwrap the basics first: we strongly align with the EU Green Deal’s objective to prevent waste and uphold circularity within our operations. Many are already engaged in transitioning to more sustainable practices. The European Commission’s intent to reduce and prevent packaging waste in its upcoming directive review goes in the right direction.
The EU’s ambition to switch so abruptly to reuse systems for food and beverage packaging in HoReCa is however concerning. As a service industry, our sector always thinks of the consumer first. To succeed, circular innovations including reuse should be pragmatic and preserve consumer choice & convenience. It should consider the‘think small first’ principle and adequately target the right set of businesses – not micro and small.
Shifting to reuse would require a systemic change in our industry’s operations. Establishments would have to source reusable packaging suppliers and invest to set up reuse cleaning and storage facilities within their premises. Reuse targets for our sector should be science-based and feasible, considering the heterogeneous nature of our industry and local specificities.
If a ban on single-use products in HoReCa is envisaged, transition periods should be set to allow businesses to adapt.