The EU aims for zero packaging waste

The EU aims for zero packaging waste

While the implementation waste law which is fast approaching Luxembourg, the European Commission has just given a new boost in its quest for packaging. On Wednesday, November 30, it presented a review of its legislation aimed at limiting packaging waste, encouraging reuse and making all packaging recyclable by 2030.

To achieve this, Brussels relies on design criteria, but also on mandatory deposit systems for plastic bottles and aluminum cans. Another harmonization is looming at the level of waste sorting, as each packaging must be indicated in which stream it must be placed thanks to identical symbols in the 27 member states.

The new rules represent key steps towards making sustainable packaging the norm in the EU.

Virginius Sinkevicius

Virginius Sinkevicius, Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries

“Every day we produce half a kilogram of packaging waste per person. The new rules represent key steps towards making sustainable packaging the norm in the EU,” Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, commented on Wednesday.

Some packaging will disappear

The Commission aims to reduce packaging waste by 15% between 2018 and 2040, per Member State and per capita, through reuse and recycling. In addition to a clear labeling requirement for reusable packaging, companies should offer consumers a certain percentage of their products in reusable or refillable packaging, such as drinks and meals for takeout or delivery.

Other packaging should be completely banned, such as single-use packaging for food and drinks when consumed in the premises, single-use packaging for fruit and vegetables, miniature shampoo bottles and other miniature models distributed in hotels.

“European citizens want to get rid of excessive packaging and unnecessarily bulky packaging, and companies are ready to put sustainable and innovative packaging solutions and systems into practice,” assured Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice President responsible for the European Green Deal.

The text also foresees mandatory rates of recycled content in new plastic packaging and clarification of the nomenclature related to biodegradable plastics, industrial compostable plastics and biomass used for the production of biomass-based plastics.

The European Commission estimates that the amount of packaging waste has increased by more than 20% in the last 10 years and could increase by another 19% by 2030 if no additional measures are taken. That is why she published this proposal, the legislative process of which has only just begun. The ball is now in the court of the European Parliament and the Council, which will not fail to examine and even amend the text.

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