The role of packaging regulations and standards in driving the circular economy

The development of packaging policies stems from intersecting challenges being faced by economies across the world. On one hand, growth in population has led to an increase in consumption and consequently an increase in the amount of per capita waste generation. Household waste generated contains increasing amounts of packaging waste and, more specifically, plastic packaging waste. On the other hand, existing municipal waste management infrastructure is struggling to keep up with basic collection of waste and is far from equipped handle plastic packaging waste by means that would result in recovery of material by recycling. Most of the plastic packaging waste ends up in the landfill or worse still, leaks into the environment. To confront the growing crisis of plastics leaking into the environment (particularly the marine environment), packaging policies are required to address the intersecting challenges of increasing packaging waste (plastics packaging waste in particular) and the limitations of existing municipal waste management infrastructures.