Reloop News

Reloop News - Packaging

Silver Linings: Advancing Packaging Laws in the EU

On December 18th, the European Council of Ministers voted on the general agreement for the ground-breaking Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR), proposed by the EU Commission in November 2022.

PPWR: Raising Packaging Standards

The PPWR aims to revolutionize packaging lifecycles, introducing comprehensive criteria and targets for design, consumption, and end-of-life, by focusing on waste prevention, volume reduction, reuse, recyclability, recycled content, and compostability. For the post-consumption phase, PPWR also proposes ambitious re-use and refill targets for ten packaging categories, as well as mandatory Deposit Return Schemes (DRS) for metal and plastic beverage containers.

Council vote: A Step Forward

The decision by the European Council of Ministers, marks the end of the third step in a four-step process, and comes with a mix of optimism and disappointment. The Council’s general agreement disappointingly lowers the threshold for exemption for DRS on bottle and cans from the Commission’s 90% to mere 78% separate collection for recycling in year 2026.

However, to our surprize, in spite of intense lobbying, the Council maintains and the packaging format restrictions, like single use packaging within on-premise dining. There are however some additional exemptions, like wine, packaging used for transporting dangerous goods, cardboard and flexible plastics used for food. But overall, there is still broad support for reuse, which is very positive given the near obliteration of the targets and restrictions which took place in the Parliament Plenary last month.

Balancing Act: Looking Beyond the Setbacks

Despite some setbacks, the agreement still supports critical PPWR provisions. It sets design standards for recyclability at scale and ambitious minimum recycled content in many plastic packages. With over 32 billion units of plastic packaging for non-food applications sold in 2022, a 65% recycled content target for 2040 will most certainly impact collection, sorting and increased recycling.

Mandatory Deposit Return Schemes (DRS) for metal and plastic beverage containers are maintained, with a target of 90% collection for recycling which is extremely ambitious, but totally doable.

The proposal also includes waste prevention targets. These measures will undoubtedly propel the EU closer to achieving its circular economy objectives, fostering a more sustainable and responsible approach to packaging.

The Process Keeps Moving Forward

Despite the setbacks, there is agreement and the regulatory process is advancing, recognizing the urgency to push the PPWR through as it heads to the final legislative step, the trilogues in Q1, led by Belgium in the Council.

to top