On 30 November, the EU Commission proposed a revision of the regulation on packaging and packaging waste.
The proposal has three main objectives to be pursued:
– prevent the generation of new waste and promote multi-purpose packaging to replace plastic packaging
– introduce mandatory percentages of recycled plastic in new packaging
– make all packaging recyclable by 2030
Firstly, there is an urgent need to define actions to counter the increasing amount of packaging waste, which has risen by more than 20% in the last 10 years.
To this end, the proposal for a regulation introduces specific measures to direct the use of reusable and refillable packaging, standardise its format, minimise the use of packaging and ban the use of superfluous packaging, most of which is made of single-use plastic, citing examples such as bottles and small disposable containers of personal cleansers used in hotels, for example.
It also points to the need to complement these with measures at national level suggesting for example the implementation of deposit-refund systems for reusable packaging, obligations for companies to expand their product range with reusable packaging, or a price surcharge for single-use packaging.
Secondly, in order to create an attractive market for secondary raw materials, it stipulates a mandatory percentage of recycled plastic in new plastic packaging.
The third objective is to extend recyclability to all packaging, through the establishment of mandatory design criteria and the use of a common EU-wide label, where the material composition and corresponding waste stream will be indicated, and will be present on both packaging and waste collection containers. Furthermore, thanks to the clarification, published by the same Commission a few days earlier, regarding biodegradable plastics, it will be possible to carry out proper end-of-life management in this area as well.
A very important final note makes it explicit that the measures would apply to both European and imported products so that European and non-European producers would be bound by the same obligations.