‘Smart packaging is reusable’ is the motto of the newly founded New European Reusable Alliance (New ERA), a not for profit coalition composed by 19 organisations representing the heterogeneous value chain of reusable packaging.
New ERA aims to make packaging reusable, practical and sustainable for all. This would not only involve a change in the way materials are used, but also a major change in societal and political behaviour.
The vision of this new alliance goes alongside the current increasing trends and calls for greater uptake and mainstreaming of reusable packaging. This is shown, for example, by the adoption of the EU ban on certain single use plastic items in July 2021.
‘We want to enable European economies to move away from the throwaway society in key market segments and become truly circular, waste free, and less toxic,’ claimed Gérard Bellet, president of New ERA and CEO of Jean Bouteille. Through joint international efforts, he said, the group will raise awareness of the benefits of well managed reuse systems, show that reuse can and does already work and, where possible, influence key policy debates and legislation at the EU and national levels to create the conditions for reuse to fulfil its potential.
‘The aim of the association is to shape legal incentives, infrastructure, and financing models to accelerate the transition from single use to reusable systems,’ summarised Jeannette Morath, treasurer of New ERA and CEO of reCircle.
On the 30 of November 2022, the European Commission presented a proposal for a regulation on packaging and packaging waste. New ERA welcomes this proposal, which promotes reuse and refill and includes targets for some products and markets, although recognises there is scope for more ambitious targets in the segments already proposed and beyond, based on the demonstrated best practice examples. ‘The proposal represents a great opportunity for establishing the conditions for the uptake of reusable packaging and accelerating the development of the infrastructure needed to build robust, cost effective and environmentally sound reuse systems,’ argued Oriol Segarra, secretary of New ERA and CEO of Bumerang.
In addition, New ERA aims to raise societal and consumer awareness of reusable solutions, as well as to create an international space for the stakeholders of the reusable packaging sector to meet and exchange knowledge and experiences, so that reuse systems become ever more convenient, more ecological, and less expensive.