Timber pallet and packaging industry focuses on significant increase in European reuse and recycling obligations

TIMCON AGM. Left to right: John Dye, Fons Ceelaert, Rob van Hoesel and Gil Coey

TIMCON AGM. Left to right: John Dye, Fons Ceelaert, Rob van Hoesel and Gil Covey

Members of the Timber Packaging & Pallet Confederation (TIMCON) were given an update on changes to the targets for the reduction of packaging waste in Europe, at the organisation’s annual general meeting, held in Cambridge at the end of May.

Fons Ceelaert, secretary general of the European Federation of Wooden Pallet and Packaging Manufacturers(FEFPEB), presented to the event, which he was attending with FEFPEB president Rob van Hoesel.

He said, that under proposed revisions to the European Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive, the EU target for the reuse and recycling of wooden packaging waste is set to climb from 15 percent, to 60 percent by 2025, and again to 75 percent by 2030. The proposal includes a revision to the legislative proposal for packaging and packaging waste. It seeks to: “…improve waste management practices, to stimulate recycling and innovation in materials management and to limit the use of landfilling. It aims to provide a clear and stable policy to allow long-term investment strategies focusing on prevention, reuse and recycling.”

Ceelaert added that FEFPEB would be lobbying for coordination and transparency of the process as the introduction of these targets approached, including: simplified definitions of what constitutes “recycling and reuse” across Europe; harmonised reporting and calculation methods; and how to include “preparation for reuse” and incineration for energy recovery within the stated targets.

FEFPEB recently conducted a survey of the recycling levels of its membership across Europe, which indicated that some countries are already at, or closely approaching, what will be the upper target of 75 percent for 2030.

Ceelaert also informed members about FEFPEB’s work on the next stage of its Packaging from Nature campaign; the latest on ISPM 15 regulations; competing materials; the relaunch of its website and cooperation with global partners, most recently as part of the second Global Forum, which was held at the FEFPEB congress in Cork, Ireland.

European issues were on the agenda elsewhere during the meeting with inevitable discussion of the impact of ‘in’ or ‘out’ Brexit votes on June 23rd. In his welcoming address to the agm, TIMCON president John Dye also spoke about the success of the FEFPEB congress, which TIMCON hosted with the assistance of its membership in Ireland in October last year. “The congress was an incredibly successful event,” he said. “It was informative, educational, provided excellent networking opportunities and the chance to visit some of the leading players in the Irish industry.”

Dye said that the past year had seen TIMCON highly active in initiatives at home and internationally on behalf of its members. This year, he added, TIMCON would be re-establishing its annual report on the state of the timber packaging industry, which it co-funds with the Forestry Commission. “Statistics from this detailed report are essential in representing and lobbying on behalf of the timber packaging and pallet industry,” he said.

TIMCON technical advisor Arthur Jenkinson presented TIMCON’s new best practice guide to fire prevention for pallet companies. The aim of the document is to give wooden packing case and pallet manufacturers and pallet repairers a non-prescriptive guide to help them establish minimum requirements for fire safety.

Following this Shane Wiles of insurer Marsh Limited presented to the meeting, stating that the insurance industry welcomes positive initiatives such as this from industry associations and complimented TIMCON for producing sound guidelines on this issue.

The agm also featured a presentation from Defra on planned changes to plant health regulations (current ISPM 15 regulations are apparently unlikely to be changed in the next three years).

The agm was held in the Cambridge Belfry Hotel and was preceded the night before by a dinner at 500-year old St John’s College, Cambridge.