Last week, the European Parliament voted to revise the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive according to the EP, calling for all packaging to be reusable or recyclable by 2030. The move comes in response to the escalating generation of packaging waste within the EU, which has significantly increased from 66 million tons in 2009 to 84 million tons in 2021. Several parties have criticized the revision as the EU has not set uniform logistics standards across Europe so far.
The newly approved report, which garnered 426 votes in favor, outlines ambitious targets for reducing overall packaging waste by 5% by 2030, 10 % by 2035, and 15 % by 2040, with a more stringent focus on plastic packaging, aiming for 10% by 2030, 15% by 2035 and 20% by 2040. The Parliament has also expressed its intention to ban the sale of ultra-thin plastic carrier bags and to heavily restrict single-use packaging formats, which are prevalent in the hospitality industry.
Parliament has also called for prohibiting "forever chemicals" in food contact packaging, a move underscored by Rapporteur Frédérique Ries. "By voting to ban 'forever' pollutants in food packaging, the European Parliament has shown that it seeks to protect the health of European citizens," Ries said, highlighting the situation's urgency.
The directives also encourage the adoption of reusable and refillable packaging options calling for ten percent of all shipments should be sent in a closed system By 2030. This means that packaging needs to be reused, indicating that consumers will need to return the packaging even when they keep all products that were included in the order.
Ries also touched upon the importance of addressing the issue of waste prevention, stating, "Unfortunately, on the circular economy, and prevention in particular, the outcome of the plenary vote is not so positive and ignores the reality of the figures: a 30% increase by 2030 if we don't act now."
As the European Parliament prepares to enter negotiations with national governments to finalize the law, the packaging and processing machinery industry must brace for a shift towards more sustainable practices.