EU reaches deal on new rules for more sustainable packaging

Green Forum
The Parliament and Council have reached a preliminary agreement on revised regulations aimed at reducing, reusing, and recycling packaging, enhancing safety, and promoting the circular economy. 

The new regulations aim to ensure that packaging used within the EU is safer and more sustainable. 

This will be achieved by mandating that all packaging must be recyclable, minimizing the presence of harmful substances, reducing unnecessary packaging, increasing the use of recycled materials, and improving collection and recycling processes.

The agreement includes targets for reducing packaging (5% by 2030, 10% by 2035, and 15% by 2040) and requires EU member states to particularly focus on reducing plastic packaging waste.

As part of the agreement, certain single-use plastic packaging formats, such as those for fresh fruits and vegetables, food and beverages consumed in cafes and restaurants, individual condiments and sauces, miniature toiletry packaging, and shrink-wrap for suitcases in airports, will be banned starting from January 1, 2030.

Additionally, very lightweight plastic carrier bags (below 15 microns) will be banned, except when necessary for hygiene purposes or when used as primary packaging for loose food items to prevent food wastage.

To address health concerns, a ban on the use of "forever chemicals" (per and polyfluorinated alkyl substances or PFASs) in food contact packaging will be implemented.

The agreement also promotes reusable packaging options for beverages, with a target of at least 10% reusable packaging for alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages (excluding milk, wine, aromatized wine, and spirits) by 2030. Final distributors of beverages and takeaway food will be required to offer consumers the option of using their containers and aim to have 10% of products available in reusable packaging by 2030.

Furthermore, member states are encouraged to incentivize the use of tap water in reusable or refillable containers in restaurants, canteens, bars, cafes, and catering services where available.

Regarding recycling, the agreement stipulates that all packaging must be recyclable, with specific criteria to be defined later. There are also minimum recycled content targets for plastic packaging, increased recycling targets for packaging waste, and requirements for the separate collection of single-use plastic and metal beverage containers.

Green Forum  |  17 May, 2024 at 9:00 AM