New EU law for the comprehensive reduction of the amount of packaging | Actual

New EU law for the comprehensive reduction of the amount of packaging | Actual
New EU law for the comprehensive reduction of the amount of packaging | Actual

The purpose of the new regulation is to prevent the constant increase in the amount of waste, to harmonize the rules of the internal market and to promote the circular economy. It was adopted with 476 MPs voting “for”, 129 – “against” and 24 MPs abstaining.

Less packaging and restrictions on specific types of packaging

The rules tentatively agreed by Parliament with the Council include packaging reduction targets (5% by 2030, 10% by 2035 and 15% by 2040). They require that EU countries pay particular attention to reducing the amount of plastic packaging used. In order to reduce the amount of redundant packaging, secondary, transport and e-commerce packaging have a maximum proportion of empty space of 50%. Manufacturers and importers will also need to ensure that the weight and volume of the packaging is kept to a minimum.

From January 1, 2030, certain types of single-use plastic packaging will be prohibited. The ban will apply to packaging of raw and fresh fruit and vegetables, packaging for food and drinks intended for consumption in cafes and restaurants, single-serve packaging (for example, spices, sauces, coffee creamer, sugar), small hygiene product packaging and very light plastic ( less than 15 microns) for shopping bags.

In order to prevent negative effects on health, the regulations have introduced specific limit values ​​for the so-called eternal chemicals (perfluoroalkyl substances and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS) if they have been used in food contact packaging.

Incentive to use and refill

For 2030, specific reuse targets have been set for alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage packaging (excluding, for example, milk, wine, flavored wine, spirits), transport and sales packaging, as well as secondary packaging. In specific cases, Member States may grant a five-year derogation from these requirements.

Drinks and takeaway food retailers will have to offer consumers the option to use their own containers. In addition, by 2030, retailers will have to aim to ensure that 10% of their products are in reusable packaging.

Recyclable packaging, better waste collection and recycling

Under the new rules, all types of packaging (except lightweight wood, cork, textile, rubber, ceramic, porcelain and wax) will need to be recyclable and meet strict criteria.

The regulations also indicate how much of the plastic packaging must be from recycled material, as well as how much of the used packaging must be recycled by weight.

By 2029, 90% of single-use plastic and metal beverage containers (up to three liters) will have to be sorted separately from other waste (by implementing deposit systems or other solutions that help to collect containers).


Rapporteur Frederica Rees (Renew Europe, Belgium) said: “For the first time, EU environmental legislation has set targets for reducing the amount of packaging for all materials. The new rules will encourage innovation and provide exemptions for micro-enterprises. The ban on the use of “eternal” substances in food packaging is a major victory for the health of European consumers. We are now calling on all industries, EU member states and consumers to contribute to the fight against excessive packaging.”

Next steps

In order for the agreement to enter into force, it must also be officially approved by the Council.

General Information

In 2018, the turnover of the packaging industry in the European Union was 355 billion euros. The amount of packaging used in the European Union is constantly increasing. In 2009, the EU generated a total of 66 million tons of used packaging, while in 2021 – 84 million tons. In 2021, each European resident generated 188.7 kg of used packaging. If nothing is done to change this, this figure could reach 209 kg by 2030.

Parliament adopts these regulations in response to citizens’ desire to create a circular economy, reduce the amount of waste, gradually eliminate unsustainable packaging and stop using single-use plastic packaging. The citizens had expressed such a wish in paragraphs 1, 3, 4 and 5 of proposal 5 of the Conference on the Future of Europe, in paragraphs 1 and 4 of proposal 11 and in paragraph 3 of proposal 20.

The article is in Latvian

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