[News] EU lawmakers strike deal for more sustainable packaging and reducing packaging waste 

On 15 March, the European Parliament and Council announced a provisional agreement on a proposal for a regulation on packaging and packaging waste. The main elements of the agreement entail minimum recycled content requirements in packaging, a restriction on polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAs) above certain thresholds, and the development of bio-based plastic packaging. It also sets new targets to minimise unnecessary packaging, reuse targets, and reduce single-use plastic packaging for food products. The proposal also sets out a collection target of 90% for single-use plastic bottles and metal containers through national deposit return systems by 2029.  

The regulations also amend the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Regulations. Initially scheduled to come into force in 2023, implementation will now be phased in until 1 April 2026. From 2024, it will run in tandem with the packaging waste regulations, requiring producers to take responsibility for the environmental impact of the packaging they supply, pay for collection and disposal costs once it becomes waste, and gradually introduce new recyclability and reporting requirements until 2026. For a useful overview of the scheduled phase-in, see here.  

The UK has also largely kept pace with the EU on packaging waste data reporting. In 2023, equivalent regulations were introduced in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, requiring packaging producers to collect and report data to their respective national agencies on the amount and type of packaging that they place on the market in order to calculate the fees producers have to pay to cover the cost of managing said waste. Defra has also set the UK-wide target rate of recycling 55% of plastic packaging by 2030. The regulations also aim to incentivise British producers to reduce and innovate in the way they use packaging and reduce PFAS contamination levels in UK waters

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

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