European Union statistics clearly show the enormous amounts of packaging materials currently used for the safety, hygiene, transportation, conservation, presentation and application of all kinds of goods – be they for industrial purposes, construction work, communication systems or individual consumption. Most of them are of carbonic or metallic origin, which are limited resources. A largely predominant part of the waste of these packaging materials can, and mostly do, have a negative environmental impact and may seriously endanger human health as well as animal and plant well-being. Material transformation and recycling for the reuse of the basic substances can only very partially reduce the many problems connected.
The main challenge now is how to produce, use and dispose of packaging products that are totally based on natural renewable raw materials which are biodegradable and can, in turn, be reused in organic agriculture. Innovative ideas, scientific research and new industrial processes boosting this approach should be strongly encouraged and supported by the European Union and the Member States. Also, the public acceptance of and preference for these new – and perhaps initially uncommon – products should be promoted by adequate public information and motivation campaigns.
The proposed opinion should investigate the full advantages of this approach, document already existing initiatives and experiences in this direction and put forward ensuing demands and proposals to decision-makers for policies and programmes at European Union and Member State levels.