PPWR: plenary update

May 14th, 2024

On 24 April, the European Parliament adopted the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) with 476 votes in favour, 129 against and 24 abstentions.

The PPWR aims to tackle the steady growth of packaging waste, harmonise internal market rules and promote the circular economy.

In particular, the regulation sets Member States packaging reduction targets of 5% by 2030, 10% by 2035 and 15% by 2040, plus dedicated reuse targets for certain types of packaging.

Single-use plastic

It also bans more types of single-use plastic packaging from 1 January 2030, building on existing bans on certain items.

Product categories affected by the new rules include packaging for:

  • unprocessed fresh fruit and vegetables
  • food and drink filled and consumed in cafes and restaurants
  • individual portions
  • miniature packaging for toiletries, and
  • very light plastic carrier bags

Other measures

Excessive packaging will be addressed by “maximum empty space ratios” and the PPWR also bans per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) above a certain threshold in food contact packaging.

Moreover, the PPWR will introduce recyclability grades requiring packaging to meet minimum standards.

The criteria start with the “theoretical” recyclability of the packaging, followed by a new requirement for it to be “recycled at scale” – this means the packaging is only recyclable when the design corresponds with the actual recycling infrastructure and it can be recycled at scale.

To generate market demand for the recyclates produced, a minimum recycled content in plastic parts of packaging will also be required by 2030.

Next steps

Following the adoption of the preliminary agreement by the European Parliament, a legal and linguistic check is now taking place, which the new Parliament will need to adopt as Corrigendum, followed by the approval of the Council before the PPWR can enter into force.

Given the European elections in June, publication of the PPWR in the EU’s Official Journal is not therefore expected until late 2024.

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