EP adops its position on law to reduce packaging waste

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Reducing packaging waste + ban on “forever chemicals” (PFAS) in food packaging 


On Wednesday 22 November the European Parliament adopted its position on legislation to reduce packaging waste, weakening some of the key measures, including on reuse and bans for unnecessary packaging.

Each European produces 190 kilograms of packaging waste yearly, something the new law aimed to reverse with a renewed push on recycling and new targets on reuse and waste prevention. Following political division and intense lobbying, lawmakers voted to weaken some of these measures.

Reuse and bans weakened

The Parliament’s position includes reducing unnecessary packaging by 5% by 2030, 10% by 2035 and 15% by 2040.

There are also specific measures to reduce plastic packaging, including a ban on very lightweight plastic carrier bags (unless required for hygiene or preventing food waste) and heavy restrictions on single-use formats like miniature hotel toiletries.

Overall, lawmakers want to cut the amount of plastic packaging in Europe by 10% by 2030, 15% by 2035 and 20% by 2040.

To prevent adverse health effects, MEPs ask for a ban on the use of so called “forever chemicals” (per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances or PFASs) and Bisphenol A in food contact packaging.

However, measures to reduce packaging waste, such as bans on unnecessary packaging and reuse targets, were removed, making environmental organisations question how waste reduction targets will be achieved.

Reuse targets were also watered down, with a new provision allowing EU countries to get out of 2030 reuse targets for a specific packaging type if they have a recycling rate of over 85% for that material.

With the Parliament’s position now adopted, negotiations can start with EU member states to finalise the law in so-called trilogue talks also involving the European Commission.

Source: Euractiv / Kira Taylor