The threat is lifted for the famous wooden Camembert boxes, which in a few days have become the unexpected point of tension for ambitious legislation intended to reduce packaging waste. The European Parliament voted on Wednesday (November 22) to exclude these beloved boxes from recycling obligations in a proposed European Union law.

Proposed by the European Commission, this text imposes recycling targets for all packaging in the Union from 2030. French companies and MEPs have been very alarmed in recent days that such a provision threatens wooden cheese boxes. , for which no specific recycling sector exists – which cannot be profitable in any case given the low volumes involved.

“We readily recognize that some of the most precious products of our European heritage are associated with certain wooden and ceramic packaging (…). We are fully open to the exemption of such products, usually in small quantities, which are the pride of our heritage,” EU Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius said at a press briefing.

“This could be easily resolved” during negotiations between MEPs and states to finalize the legislation, “but as this issue has come up so loudly, I am happy to answer it and calm passions on the subject,” he said. -he adds.

Camembert, Mont d’Or and Babybel on “respite”

By adopting their position on the text on Wednesday with a view to talks with the States, the MEPs meeting in plenary session validated an amendment tabled by the Renew group (liberals). This provides that the recycling obligation does not apply at this stage to wooden packaging (boxes of Camembert, Mont d’Or, oyster baskets, trays of strawberries, etc.) or wax (which concerns the Babybel), as long as Brussels has not examined their specific situation.

“Our amendment (…) was widely supported. So the subject is settled! », welcomed the president (Renew) of the parliamentary Environment committee, Pascal Canfin. This will “preserve wooden packaging, such as the emblematic Mont d’Or spruce box”, Jura cheese, added his colleague Christophe Grudler.

The organization of majority agricultural unions (Copa-Cogeca) welcomed “good news” for cheese producers. An amendment tabled at the same time by the EPP (European People’s Party, right) to also demand a derogation was not accepted, however, to the great dismay of MEP François-Xavier Bellamy, who believes that Renew’s amendment does not represent as a “temporary reprieve.”