Packaging Sustainability in the European Union

 The European Union (EU) recently released a proposal for new packaging regulations aimed at making sustainable packaging the norm to help achieve environmental and sustainability goals. Policymakers in the EU believe the proposal to revise the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) will help promote a more circular economy and reduce the environmental impact of packaging. 

According to EU data, on average, each European generates almost 180 kg (approximately 396 pounds) of packaging waste per year. Without action, the EU would see a further 19% increase in packaging waste by 2030. 

To stem the tide of packaging waste, the new PPWR proposal will ensure reusable packaging options, get rid of unnecessary packaging, limit overpackaging, and provide clear labels to support correct recycling. Specific targets outlined in the proposal include: 

  • Reducing packaging waste by 15% by 2040 per Member State per capita through reuse and recycling 
  • Making packaging fully recyclable by 2030 
  • Fostering reuse or refillof packaging 
  • Setting mandatory rates of recycled content in new plastic packaging

The proposal will also clear up confusion on which packaging belongs in which recycling bin. According to the European Commission, every piece of packaging will carry a label showing what the packaging is made of and in which waste stream it should go. Waste collection containers will carry the same labels and the same symbols will be used everywhere in the EU. 

The Commission notes that “by 2030, the proposed measures would bring greenhouse gas emissions from packaging down to 43 million tons compared to 66 million if the legislation is not changed – the reduction is about as much as the annual emissions of Croatia.” 

EU rules on packaging cover all types of packaging and packaging waste placed on the European market. When enacted, the new rules will require brands selling products in this market to comply with essential requirements related to manufacturing, composition, and reusable or recoverable nature.  

Source: EY

According to global consulting firm EY, “a sound circular packaging strategy and its implementation is a must for all companies putting packaging on the European market, not only from a branding and market perspective, but soon for compliance purposes as well, with the new upcoming legislation.” EY also highlighted that “soon, recyclability will be a minimum requirement for all packaging.”  

Regulations like the PPWR are driving innovation in the packaging industry, spurring the development of more sustainable and circular solutions. Solutions like the recyclable EEASY Lid are hitting the market just in time to help brands conserve natural resources, cut waste, reduce their carbon footprint and ensure food safety and quality.  

With PPWR regulations expected to take effect in late 2024, it’s essential for brands to start rethinking their packaging NOW to ensure compliance.   

The EEASY Lid is a compliance ensured packaging solution brands can adopt now. 

Contact us today to learn more about how the EEASY Lid can embed recyclability into your packaging to meet sustainability goals and compliance requirements. 

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