“We are lucky to have a material that can be recycled very easily”.


Kareen Desbouis, General Delegate of Carton Ondulé de France, presents the battles of the federation and insists on the opportunity of the ALL4PACK EMBALLAGE PARIS show to prolong them.

Could you introduce the French Corrugated Board Federation to those who don’t know it?
It’s a trade federation that brings together all corrugated board manufacturers, which means all the companies that own a corrugator, that big machine that corrugates sheets of paper and laminates two liners to make the structure of the board you find in pizza boxes, for example, or removal crates. Of the 11 groups active in this sector, we have 6, spread over 58 of the 72 production sites in France.

What is the role of the federation
Quite simply, to represent and defend the interests of our members in various contexts, whether regulatory, standards-related or in discussions with other members of the industry.

What issues have you been particularly active on recently?
There are a lot of them, because packaging is a subject of great concern to the public authorities at the moment. Lately, we’ve been particularly active in discussions on the regulation on packaging and packaging waste, which has just been adopted by the European Parliament and will probably be definitively adopted and published at the end of this year. This is a subject that has kept us very busy over the last year and a half, and it’s far from over, since the text will be accompanied by a large number of delegated acts, regulatory texts that are to some extent at European level what decrees or application orders are at French level.

What was your line in these European discussions?
First of all, we had a major issue: the re-use obligations that the legislator wanted to impose, which were not at all adapted to the case of cardboard, which by its very nature is not a material that can easily be re-used, since it is a living material that changes over time, particularly due to humidity. On the other hand, it is a very effective material when it comes to recycling. So we’ve worked hard with the entire decision-making chain to promote the fact that our system of reuse involves reusing the material rather than the packaging.

And were you heard?
Yes, because we were able to draw on a number of life cycle analyses, which showed that reusing the material through recycling could have less impact on the environment than reusing the packaging itself. This is all the more true given that we are lucky enough to have a material that can be recycled very easily. If I wanted to caricature it, I’d say that all you have to do is put it in water and it’s all there! Obviously, it’s a lot more complicated than that, but it’s true that cardboard recycling is particularly effective, with an established and efficient collection, sorting and manufacturing chain and, what’s more, the possibility of recycling close to the place of use.

Another area in which you are involved is EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility). What is your position on this?
The EPR for household packaging and graphic products was amended last year and came into force at the beginning of this year. We are working hard on this EPR, and we very much regret that its specifications mean that the re-use system will be financed by eco-taxes levied on single-use packaging. This is a real concern for us, especially since, as I said, we cannot participate in the reuse market. But above all, EPR systems have always been particularly careful to respect competition between materials and between sectors, and to avoid having one sector finance another.
Another EPR that concerns us is the EPR for industrial and commercial packaging, which is due to be introduced on 1 January 2025 and on which we are just beginning to work with the public authorities. This is a subject that concerns us first and foremost: almost 80% of the packaging manufactured by our members is industrial and commercial packaging. And the system works very well, since we have an industrial and commercial recycling rate of around 91%, without any EPR having been set up and without any recycling obligation. We are therefore paying particular attention to ensuring that the introduction of this EPR does not disrupt what already exists and is working.

How will you be taking part in ALL4PACK EMBALLAGE PARIS?
We won’t have a stand, because that wouldn’t necessarily make sense for a federation. But we will obviously be very present in the aisles of the show to meet all our partners in the industry. We will also be organising a conference dedicated to the challenges facing our industry.

What does the show mean to you?
For us, as for the whole packaging world, it’s obviously THE place to be! It’s the best way to showcase the world of packaging and all the innovations that are taking place. But I think that this year, it’s also the way to put the role of packaging back at the heart of the discussions. For four years now, we’ve been talking mainly about packaging as waste, with the role of packaging and all the services it provides taking a back seat. I think we need to get back to reality, move away from dogma and put a little science and reflection back at the heart of the debate. And to do that, I think the show comes at just the right time…

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