Challenges of Extended Producer Responsibility in commercial and industrial packaging


CATEGORY: JAVIER ZABALETA, managing director of itene

Recently, there has been much talk of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), which calls on the producer to prevent, manage and pay for the processing and recovery of everything that can become waste

The Royal Decree on Packaging and Packaging Waste incorporates EPR for the first time in Spain for industrial and commercial packaging, so that packagers, importers and intra-Community purchasers will be responsible for organising and financing the management of the packaging waste they place on the market. In addition, foreign companies placing packaging on the market will have to have an authorised representative.

This issue was already regulated in Directive (EU) 2018/852, which defines recycling targets for packaging and extends Extended Producer Responsibility to all packaging, guaranteeing its management and treatment and bearing the costs. In Spain, the Royal Decree provides that producers can comply with the obligations arising from Extended Producer Responsibility through an Individual System (SIRAP) or in a grouped manner through a Collective System (SCRAP).



The latter are partnerships of several stakeholders that enable companies to meet their Extended Responsibility obligations, such as ensuring adequate collection and treatment of waste and meeting prevention, reuse and recycling targets.


For example, a company in the food sector will have to consider the new regulations in relation to its packaging, both household and commercial. It will have to adhere to integrated management systems, establish measures for the reuse of packaging and ensure the recyclability of packaging placed on the market. In addition, in the case of reusable packaging, it must implement deposit, return and refund systems.


In ITENE we collaborate with SCRAPs such as Envacora, Ecoembes or Cartón Circular (AFCO) to whose member companies we provide complementary services to these entities on issues related to the Royal Decree on Packaging or Waste Law. Furthermore, in our research centre we have extensive experience in packaging technologies, and we are prepared to help companies face the current challenges in the field of packaging. Our focus is on both the design and development of packaging, as well as its alignment with the new objectives of recyclability, reusability and compostability. In addition, we can provide support in analysing compliance with these new targets from a legal and regulatory perspective. We are aware of the current regulations, and we can assess whether the packaging complies with the established requirements.

ITENE is also working on the development of new packaging alternatives that are aligned with the circular economy objectives. This includes the implementation of new circuits, such as reuse, to reduce the environmental impact of packaging and promote its sustainable life cycle.


Our aim is to join forces with companies and help them to position and drive themselves in this new paradigm represented by the circular economy. We are committed to finding innovative and sustainable solutions in the field of packaging.


Javier Zabaleta

Managing director of Itene



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