Draft Royal Decree on Packaging and Packaging Waste changes and harmonises the rules of the game

El Proyecto de Real Decreto de Envases y Residuos de Envases, cambia y armoniza las reglas de juego

The Spanish Draft Royal Decree on Packaging and Packaging Waste clearly defines what can be considered as recyclable packaging, as well as laying the foundations for the recyclability messages included on packaging to be true, impartial and auditable. DríadeSM’s evaluations, Recyclability Certificate and Recyclability Seal are aligned with the precepts established in this Draft Royal Decree. 

Raquel Iglesias Iglesias
CEO Dríade Soluciones Medioambientales

The European Commission has established that all packaging must be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2030. But what requirements must packaging meet to be considered recyclable? When DríadeSM and the UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change ESCI-UPF developed the evaluation, certificate and label of real recyclability, this was the first concept to be addressed. It was not an easy task, but we had an immovable determination that the definition had to reflect reality. Today we are pleased to see that this same determination can be perceived in the Draft Royal Decree on Packaging and Packaging Waste (PRDEE) and that the concept of recyclability is entirely aligned with what we have been advocating since 2018

Point V of Article 2 of the Draft Royal Decree defines packaging recyclability as: 

“the effective recyclability of packaging waste, which is determined by considering the following criteria:

  1. That it is collected separately in an efficient manner, through the access of users to nearby collection points.
  2. That it does not have characteristics, elements or substances that hinders sorting, separation and recycling, or limit the subsequent use of the recycled material.
  3. That it is recycled on an industrial scale with commercial processes that ensure recycled material of sufficient quality for subsequent uses, and in a quantity of greater than 50% of the mass of the packaging waste of that type collected”.

During the years it has taken us to develop the definition and evaluation methodology for our Recyclability Certificate and Seal, we have had to fervently defend the concepts outlined in this Royal Decree, with the full support of the leading players in terms of closing the loop, i.e., the recyclers. But the fight has been worth it. At last, there is a legal text that defines recyclability and is fully in line with what we have been advocating.

To be considered recyclable, packaging must be capable of successfully undergoing each of the stages necessary for the material of which it is composed to be reincorporated into the production cycle from which it originates, i.e., collection, sorting and recycling. It serves no purpose for a product go through one stage if it cannot go through all of them.

Published in: Nº 90 FuturENVIRO – May-June 2022