On 30 November 2022, the European Commission published the second part of its circular economy package which also introduces the proposal for a legislative revision of the directive on packaging and packaging waste (PPWD), from directive to regulation.
The Commission proposed 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 options, get 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 general objectives of the proposal for the revision of the directive on packaging and packaging waste (PPWD) into regulation are to reduce the negative environmental impacts of packaging and packaging waste, while improving the functioning of the internal market. In particular, the Commission would like to (i) reduce the generation of packaging waste, (ii) promote a circular economy for packaging in a cost-effective way and (iii) promote the use of recycled content in packaging.
While a move from a directive to a regulation would leave the current internal market legal basis unchanged, thus increasing the potential for harmonization between Member States, this would mean that most of the requirements would apply directly to operators cheap. The 12 chapters and 65 articles that make up the proposal include new essential requirements – the conditions that packaging must meet in order to be allowed on the EU market – and other provisions aimed at contributing to the efficient functioning of the internal market for packaged products, by preventing or reducing the negative impacts of packaging and packaging waste on the environment and human health. The document provides three options for achieving these targets, favoring one option that sets mandatory targets for waste reduction, reuse for certain sectors and a minimum recycled content in plastic packaging that the 27 EU Member States they will have to allow.
Member States to reduce packaging waste (per capita) by 5% by 2030, to 10% by 2035 and 15% by 2040 compared to 2018. By 2029, countries to create deposit return schemes for single-use plastic and metal beverage containers. By the end of 2025, 65% (by weight) of all packaging waste will need to be recycled, including 50% of plastic, 50% of aluminium, 70% of glass and 75% of paper and cardboard. The proposal also defines minimum targets for the reuse and refilling of food packaging to be achieved by 2030:
- 10% of non-alcoholic beverages, 25% by 2040.
- 20% of hot and cold takeaway drink containers, 80% by 2040.
- 10% of hot and cold takeaway drink containers, 80% by 2040.
The consultation period for sending comments was opened on 01 December 2022 and will close on 24 March 2023.