Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR)

The Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation brings many changes for companies that produce packaging or place packaging on the market. An overview of the most important aspects of the PPWR.

Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) - EU-Verpackungsverordnung
Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) - EU-Verpackungsverordnung

What is the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation?

The European Commission’s proposal for an EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) aims to promote the transformation to a Circular Economy through uniform Europe-wide requirements for the sustainability and labelling of packaging as well as the collection and recycling of packaging waste.

Who does the PPWR apply to?

Companies that manufacture and/or place packaging on the market within the EU will be confronted by the PPWR with Europe-wide standardised requirements for the design of packaging regarding its recyclability and the use of recyclates. While the current EU Directive (EU Directive 94/62/EC) is a “Directive” by title and can therefore be implemented differently by each member state, the PPWR will be a regulation. The Commission is therefore aiming to change the legal form from a directive to a regulation. The provisions of this legal form are directly applicable throughout the European Union and therefore no longer require transposition into national law.

When does the PPWR enter into force?

The EU Commission published its proposal for the PPWR on 30 November 2022. The proposal was subsequently discussed in a so-called trilogue procedure between representatives of the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission. On 4 March 2024, the parties were finally able to agree on a compromise text – just in time to enable a resolution to be passed during the current legislative period.

If final agreement is reached on the legislative text, the legal and linguistic review will not be completed before the European elections in June. The newly elected Parliament may therefore have to adopt corrections after the elections. Current forecasts suggest that the PPWR will be finally adopted at the end of 2024. After final adoption, the regulation can enter into force following its publication in the Official Journal of the EU. The final step of this legislative process includes a transitional period of 18 months, after which the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation will become mandatory for all EU member states.

What are central aspects of the PPWR?

Recyclability (Article 6)

For defined packaging categories, various criteria for recycling are defined, and the categories are divided into performance classes, with the last class being categorised as “non-recyclable”.

Recyclate use in plastic packaging (Article 7)

The PPWR provides for specified recyclate utilisation rates for plastic packaging. Packaging manufacturers are set two target years, 2030 and 2040, by which the specified quotas for the various types of packaging must be achieved.

Packaging minimisation (Article 9)

According to Article 9 of the EU Regulation, all packaging must be minimised in terms of weight and volume.

Labelling of packaging and waste containers (Articles 11 & 12)

The Regulation contains requirements for EU-wide harmonised labelling of packaging regarding its material composition.

Ban on certain single-use plastic packaging from 2030 (Article 22)

In its draft regulation, the EU places certain packaging on a list of banned items. This list currently includes single-use plastic group packaging that is used by customers to purchase more than one product or single-use plastic packaging for fresh fruit and vegetables without a protective function < 1.5 kg.

Prevention of packaging waste (Article 38)

The total amount of packaging waste is to be reduced by 5 % by 2030, 10 % by 2035 and 15 % by 2040.

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