EU agrees new packaging waste regulation

Our economy is generating more packaging than ever before. In fact, the statistics are quite sobering. It’s thought that more than 190kg of packaging waste was generated by every European as of 2021 – and without intervention, this figure will be set to grow by more than 20% by 2030!

So, it makes sense that the powers that be are stepping in to create new regulations that aim to reduce waste.

What’s going to be introduced?

The European Union recently settled on a provisional agreement for the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR), which will force brands to consider their packaging products as part of a more circular strategy.

Adhering with the Directive will not only involve working to ensure packaging can be reused or recycled wherever possible – it will also require these companies to reduce their production of single-use plastic, minimise the presence of harmful substances in packaging, and reduce the overall use of packaging to minimal levels.

By 2030, the regulation will specifically seek to ban certain single-use packaging formats, such as packaging for:

  • Unprocessed fruits and vegetables
  • Foods and beverages that are filled and consumed in cafes and restaurants
  • Individual portions used for condiments such as sauces and sugar
  • Toiletry miniatures that are often used in hotels
  • Shrink-wrap, as commonly used for suitcases in airports

The regulation promotes the use of refill options for customers and encourages food service businesses to let their guests bring and utilise their own containers.

This is all in line with the regulation’s targets of reducing packaging by 5% by 2030. Looking a little further ahead, European Parliament then wants to reduce packaging waste by 10% by 2035, and 15% by 2040.

Packaging must also soon be labelled with additional information, so customers know where and how to recycle these items. (We welcome this rule in particular, because from our own experience, we know that individuals are far less likely to place their packaging in for appropriate recycling when they are unsure where it actually needs to go!)

What does this mean for our customers in the EU?

These regulations won’t prevent you from creating beautiful, fully branded packaging that complements your brand. You’ll still be able to distribute bespoke bags and branded boxes, amongst other items. The legislation will just force you to be more mindful of the packaging you’re putting out there, and how it can be repurposed or disposed of once it’s reached the end of its lifecycle.

If you’d like more information on how the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation might affect your brand packaging strategy in the next few years, feel free to reach out to the team here at Hallmark Labels.

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