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Welcome to GPC Europe - Regulation

Circular Economic aims to Reduce Waste by keeping the products in use, which signifies each product's importance. The circular economy seeks to make the most of the material resources available by applying three basic principles: reuse, reduce, and recycle. In this way, the life cycle of the products is extended, waste is used, & a more efficient and sustainable production model is established over time. The idea arises from imitating nature, where everything is valued and used, and waste becomes a new resource. In this way, the balance between progress and sustainability is maintained. With the increasing amount of waste generated each year through various industries, the cosmetic industry is also not far behind. The cosmetic industry is one of the top contributors in the packaging space for plastic waste. It is far from pretty regarding its impact on the environment.

The cosmetic industry value chain broadly comprises of 6 levels:
• Stage 1: Inputs to Production – Consists of companies providing raw materials to manufacture cosmetics and their packaging.
• Stage 2: Manufacturing/Development – This step entails manufacturing cosmetic products as per the requirements. Product manufacturers of primary and supporting activities are involved in this stage.
• Stage 3: Packaging – This step involves the primary/secondary packaging of the product; hence this is of high relevance for our research. The product is capped and labelled for the stakeholders to understand the product.
• Stage 4: Distribution – This step is secondary/ tertiary packaging-intensive as it requires transporting the products to various geographic locations. The product reaches different distribution and wholesale centres from its warehouses.
• Stage 5: Retail & Wholesale – Product is distributed to various wholesalers and retailers from where the consumers can get access to the products.
• Stage 6: Consumers – They represent the final link in the value chain. Consumers are the ones who buy the product from retailers/ wholesalers in the previous steps. They are a crucial stakeholder in the entire value chain of the cosmetic industry.

Europe is a world leader in the cosmetics industry and a dominant cosmetics exporter. The E.U.'s involvement mainly concerns the regulatory framework for market access, international trade relations, and regulatory convergence. These all aim to ensure the highest level of consumer safety while promoting this sector's innovation and competitiveness. The European Commission (E.U., 2021)is also in contact with cosmetics stakeholders at E.U. and international levels. Regardless of the manufacturing processes or distribution channels, cosmetic products placed on the E.U. market must be safe.

Existing Situation

Directive 2006/66/EC on batteries and accumulators (the Batteries Directive), last amended in 2018, is the current legal act in place for batteries. It applies to all types of batteries, irrespective of chemical composition, size or nature and classifies them according to their use. Categories of batteries are

  • Portable battery
  • Automotive batteries
  • Industrial batteries

The directive laid down rules for

  • Reducing the use of hazardous substance in batteries. (Prohibited certain mercury and cadmium content)
  • And to ensure the proper management of waste batteries

It required the member states to ensure that the appropriate collection schemes were in place for waste portable batteries and set collection rates. The collection rates were set at 25% in weight by September 2012 and rose to 45% by September 2016. Producers of battery and other related products became responsible for the waste management of batteries under extended producer responsibility.

The directive also established obligations in relation to the efficiencies of the recycling processes. The efficiencies set were 65% by average weight of Lead acid batteries and 50% by average weight of other batteries.

Proposed Changes

The three objectives for the new proposal are: strengthening the functioning of the internal market, which includes products, processes, waste batteries and recycles, by ensuring a level playing field through a common set of rules; promoting circular economy; and reducing environmental and social impacts throughout all stages of the battery lifecycle.

The main changes in the proposal include

  • Creating new battery classifications, by adding a new category of electric vehicle in already existing categories
  • Requirements to minimise carbon footprint of EV batteries: a carbon footprint declaration, requirement to comply with maximum lifecycle thresholds and declaration for classification in carbon footprint performance category
  • Mandatory minimum levels of recycled content in EV
  • Minimum electrochemical performance and durability
  • A new obligation of battery replaceability for portable batteries
  • Setting up and electronic exchange system for battery information

It also proposes the development of minimum mandatory green public procurement.

In the European Union, the European Green Deal aims at establishing a new sustainable, low-carbon, resource-efficient and competitive economic model. 

 

Several strategies and action plans apply the overarching vision of the European Green Deal to specific economic sectors. Each of these strategies and action plans detail the legislative changes that will be proposed (either through new regulations or amendments to existing ones). 

 

Additionally, some regulatory initiatives from before the European Green Deal also brought circularity goals into the regulatory framework of the EU, such as the database for Substances in Concern in Products (SCIP).

Circular Economy Action Plan

Presented in March 2020, the EU Circular Economy Action Plan singles out some key industries where regulatory action will be focused. These are:  

  • Electronics and ICT   

  • Batteries and vehicles   

  • Packaging   

  • Plastics   

  • Textiles   

  • Construction and buildings   

  • Food, water and nutrients 

 

Under the Circular Economy Acton Plan, a dedicated Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles has been presented in March 2022.  

 

Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles

The Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles foresees actions to make textile value chains more sustainable and circular. These include, for example:  

  • The revision of EU Ecolabel criteria for textiles and footwear 

  • The review of Regulation 1007/2011, on textile  

  • Establishing mandatory sustainability performance requirements under the upcoming Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation  

Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability

The European Commission presented its Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability in October 2020, with an overarching goal of eliminating or minimizing the use of hazardous substances. This is expected to bring positive effects in terms of protection of human and environmental health, and boost innovation to safe and sustainable chemicals. 

 

Actions proposed under the Strategy are being rolled out since 2020, with several key legislative changes being initiated in 2022. 

 

Before the end of the year, the Commission is expected to propose amendments to the following key pieces of legislation: 

  • Regulation 1907/2006, concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (the REACH Regulation) 
  • Regulation 1272/2008, on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures (the CLP Regulation) 
  • Regulation 1223/2009, on cosmetic products 

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