Published on 20. October 2022

Updated on 9. March 2023



Table of contents
  1. The new EPR regulation in overview
  2. EPR: Companies bear full responsibility

New EPR regulations in Sweden

Reading time: 3 Minutes, 20 Seconds

Graphic_EPR Schweden

Sweden holds manufacturing companies even more accountable for packaging waste

A new regulation on extended producer responsibility (EPR) for packaging sets higher standards in Swedish waste management. For international companies operating in the Swedish market, the following innovations are of particular interest:

  • Distributing companies must comply with stricter registration requirements in the future
  • and the existing exception for dairy products from the Swedish deposit system was canceled.

RecycleMe provides reliable information about European legislative changes.

Sweden is a pioneer and driver of innovation

Sweden is much more than IKEA, Volvo, or Abba: Sweden is one of the most innovative economies in the world. The Scandinavian country ranked second in the Global Innovation Index of 2021. Only Switzerland was rated as more progressive last year. Germany only reached 10th place. But what do the Swedes do differently from us?

If one looks at more recent political decisions, the “National Innovation Council” stands out in particular. It was initiated in 2015 by Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. The objective: to promote innovation through collaboration between government, universities, and companies. Since December 2021, the Council’s ideas and projects have been incorporated into the regular activities of the government. Innovation is firmly established in Sweden not only in people’s minds, but also in government.

As an economic innovation driver, Sweden also wants to meet European standards in the packaging industry and waste management. A new Swedish regulation on producer responsibility for packaging was therefore published at the beginning of July. When foreign companies import their products into the Swedish scope or sell their products to Swedish consumers, the new Swedish Producer Responsibility Regulation for Packaging also applies to these companies. So, looking to Sweden is not only worthwhile for those who want to be inspired by innovative Swedish business models.

The new EPR regulation in overview

The new regulation (2022:1274) replaces the regulation of the same name of 18 July 2018 (2018:1462) and the regulation on return systems for plastic bottles and metal cans of 5 April 2005 (2005:220) but combines them in a single legislative text and retains essential elements of both regulations (definitions, targets, evaluation of packaging types, packaging design, etc.).

The new regulation mainly refers to the following points:

  • The system for household packaging will be revised by making municipalities responsible for the collection of household waste from 2024.
  • All packaging producers are required to join an approved PRO (Producer Responsibility Organization). PROs assume responsibility for the collection, sorting and recycling of packaging producers’ waste. The new regulations correspond to the minimum requirements for PROs under EU Directive 2018/851. Since 2021, they will also have to register with the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket), which involves an annual reporting obligation (type and weights of imported/manufactured packaging) to the agency.
  • Foreign companies based outside Sweden that supply packaging or packaged products directly to end consumers in Sweden will in future be able to appoint an authorized representative to take over their obligations as manufacturers.


Of particular interest to companies with international operations:

  • An amendment to the Packaging Ordinance (2022:1275) published the same day cancels an existing exception for dairy products from the Swedish deposit system. In addition, the new legislation regulates a minimum recycled content of 30% in all plastic beverage containers that hold less than three liters from 2030.


EPR: Companies bear full responsibility

What exactly is “EPR”? Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) has been in effect in the EU for years. However, their interpretation differs in the various member states. EPR states that manufacturing companies are responsible for the entire life cycle of their products. From the design to the disposal and recycling. The company is responsible not only for the product itself, but also for all the packaging that goes with it. Even though end users are responsible for the actual disposal, manufacturers are obliged to ensure the correct recycling process. In practice, they hand over this responsibility to PROs as described above.

Extended producer responsibility thus contributes directly to a sustainable circular economy. Both products and packaging can be reused or at least recycled after use.

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