62 companies joint name: the European Union to amend the packaging regulations, is to turn back the wheel of history!

  • 2022-11-28
Recently, discussions about the future of PPWR legislation in the EU have intensified since a leaked version of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) was made public (October 2022), Eurobioplastics reported November 16. The bioplastics industry is concerned that the proposal ignores the important role of the bioeconomy and its products, including bio-based and compostable plastics, in meeting Europe's ambitious environmental targets. In its current version, the regulation will shut down the development of innovative, sustainable packaging solutions for businesses across Europe.

The widespread concerns about bioplastics in Europe are echoed by many other industries across the packaging chain. In a joint statement published recently, a broad industry coalition of different organisations and associations expressed concerns about the European Commission's PPWR proposal.

The Packaging Value Chain Industry Alliance believes this is very inconsistent with several key principles of European legislation, including better regulatory requirements, an evidence-based approach and the principle of priority in assessment. Other key requirements, such as cost-effectiveness and proportionality, will also be widely ignored. "The current approach will create a regulatory environment that is at best unworkable and at worst damaging to European industry as a whole," the signatories said.

A significant part of the industry's criticism centers on the recycling design guidelines, which determine what kind of packaging is allowed on the EU market. The prescriptive negative list proposed in the draft PPWR will only undermine innovation and investment in recycling, which will have far-reaching environmental, employment and economic consequences.

The industry coalition has also criticized the proposed refilling and reuse goals as unrealistic and disproportionate, and therefore potentially counterproductive. According to the signatories, the proposal also lacks concrete measures that are needed to create a framework to scale up supplemental packaging and reuse beyond niche projects. In addition, it criticized the lack of specific standards related to hygiene, food health and safety requirements to assess the environmental consequences of expanded production.

By contrast, the industry has argued strongly for substantial investment in sorting and recycling infrastructure to ensure that packaging is collected first. Another focus of criticism is the proposed mandatory recycling targets for plastic packaging. Because of these difficulties, including the availability, quality and cost of recycled plastics and legal constraints, the proposed objectives cannot be achieved without the inclusion of packaging functions.

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