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20 key points for understanding the EU’s proposals for packaging and packaging waste regulation

The European Commission has proposed new EU rules for dealing with the problem of packaging waste. Law firm Squire Patton Boggs has published an exploration of the new proposals – Interplas Insights’ Danny Ball summarises 20 key learnings from the paper. ×
  • The end goal of the new proposals is for all packaging in the EU to be reusable or recyclable by 2030. This goal is to be achieved via the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD).
  • New proposals target: Reusability, recyclability, size and uptake of recycled materials 
  • Proposals  will apply directly to companies.
  • The revision of the PPWD involved three problems: Low levels of packaging recyclability, growing levels of waste and low levels of uptake in the use of recycled plastics.
  • It was decided that the policy would be made a regulation rather than a directive to combat legal issues. 
  • All packaging will need to be recyclable, according to the proposal.
  • According to the plans, recyclable packaging includes: materials that are designed to be recycled, be collected separately, be able to be recycled at a large scale and be able to be recycled in a manner that materials extracted from it are good enough to contribute to the circular economy.
  • The commission will establish a recycling performance system.
  • Packaging should be designed so that it can maximise reuse- packaging of beverages will have a reuse target of 10%, some of the strictest rules target takeaway food with a reusability rate of 40%.
  • There is an exception on the recyclability of wine products.
  • The size of packaging will be scaled down to a minimum against its weight and size- ‘the empty space ratio should not exceed 40%.’
  • Plastic packaging will need to contain a share of used plastic, the amount changes dependent on sector.
  • The method for calculating the share of used plastics in items will be decided by the end of 2026.
  • By 2040, packaging used for E-commerce will make up 50% of the market.
  • Single use plastics will be banned in some sectors, unless there are special circumstances, these include: packaging for fruit and vegetables that weigh under 1.5kg, packaging for food and drinks to be consumed at hospitality venues, hotel miniature cosmetics and condiment packaging for hospitality.
  • There will be a 100% reusability target for the transport of goods within a single member state or between two sites of the same company, or linked businesses.
  • The system will grade products A-E. E will mean a product is not recyclable and be banned from the market.
  • Proposals will be supported by secondary legislation.
  • The Proposal is open for feedback until 1st February 2023.
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    Publication date: 15/12/2022

    European Plastic Product Manufacturer

    This project has been co-funded with the support of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union [LIFE17 ENV/ES/000438] Life programme

    The website reflects only the author's view. The Commission is not responsible for any use thay may be made of the information it contains.
    Last update: 2022-01-31