Technological watch

European Green Deal: Putting an end to wasteful packaging, boosting reuse and recycling

Today, the Commission is proposing new EU-wide rules on packaging, to tackle this constantly growing source of waste and of consumer frustration. On average, each European generates almost 180 kg of packaging waste per year. Packaging is one of the main users of virgin materials as 40% of plastics and 50% of paper used in the EU is destined for packaging. Without action, the EU would see a further 19% increase in packaging waste by 2030, and for plastic packaging waste even a 46% increase.

The new rules aim to stop this trend. For consumers, they will ensure reusable packaging optionsget rid of unnecessary packaging, limit overpackaging, and provide clear labels to support correct recycling. For the industry, they will create new business opportunities, especially for smaller companies, decrease the need for virgin materials, boosting Europe’s recycling capacity as well as making Europe less dependent on primary resources and external suppliers. They will put the packaging sector on track for climate neutrality by 2050.

The Commission also brings clarity to consumers and industry on biobased, compostable and biodegradable plastics: setting out for which applications  such plastics are truly environmentally beneficial and how they should be designed, disposed of and recycled.

The proposals are key building blocks of the European Green Deal’s Circular Economy Action Plan and its objective to make sustainable products the norm. They also respond to specific demands of Europeans as expressed at the Conference on the Future of Europe.

Preventing packaging waste, boosting reuse and refill, and making all packaging recyclable by 2030EU policy framework on biobased, biodegradable and compostable plastics

Proposal for a revision of EU legislation on Packaging and Packaging Waste

Questions and Answers on Packaging and Packaging Waste

Questions and Answers on Biobased Plastics

Factsheet on Packaging and Biobased Plastics

Press release on Carbon removal certification 

Questions and Answers on Carbon removal certification

Factsheet on Carbon removal certification

Quote(s)We have all received products ordered online in excessively large boxes. And we have often wondered how to separate waste for recycling, what to do with that biodegradable bag, or if all this packaging will be used again or at least turned into new valuable materials. Each day we produce half a kilogram of packaging waste per person. With the new rules we propose crucial steps to make sustainable packaging the norm in the EU. We will create the right conditions for the circular economy principles – reduce, reuse, recycle – to work. More sustainable packaging and bioplastics are about new business opportunities in the green and digital transition, about innovation and new skills, local jobs and savings for consumers. – Virginijus Sinkevi?ius, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries – 30/11/2022

After tackling single use plastics, we now take the next step on our way to a future without pollution. Our proposals today reduce packaging waste, promote reuse and refill, increase the use of recycled plastics, and make it easier to recycle packaging. European citizens are eager to be rid of overpackaging and unnecessarily bulky packages, and businesses are ready to move forward with sustainable, innovative packaging solutions and systems. We also clear up confusing claims around biobased and biodegradable plastics, so that producers and consumers know under which conditions such plastics are truly environment-friendly and contribute to a green and circular economy. – Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal – 30/11/2022

Publication date: 05/01/2023

Author: Marion Kupfer

Bio-based News

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

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Last update: 2022-01-31