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EU agreement on the treatment of packaging

The countries of the European Union agreed days ago on a common position to continue final negotiations with the European Parliament on the issue of packaging with a view to the new regulation on packaging and packaging waste, the aim of which is to gradually reduce its amount in everyday products.

This approach, agreed by European environment ministers at a meeting in Brussels, includes: “complete packaging life cycle” and sets out requirements to ensure that “Packaging is safe and environmentally friendly and requires that all packaging is recyclable and the content of foreign substances is minimized“said the Council of the EU in a statement.

The position taken by Member States relates to the treatment and management of packaging after it has become waste, so that it is collected, sorted and recycled in accordance with “highest standards“, with regulations requiring states to “flexible enough to keep existing systems running“.

In 2021, every European will generate 190 kg of packaging waste. And this number will increase by almost 20% by 2030 if the situation does not change (…). This regulation is important on the way to a circular economy and a climate-neutral Europe“said Teresa Ribera, head of the Spanish Foundation for the Ecological Transition, in a statement on behalf of the Spanish EU Council Presidency.

The aim is for the Member States and the European Parliament to reach an agreement before the European Parliament elections in June 2024 on the final modernization of the document, which has numerous technical aspects and has aroused great interest among interest groups (lobbies) because it Affecting many industries and companies, from fast food to plastic, paper, wood and recycling, it has caused particular concern in Italy and Finland.

Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius said the European Commission, whose original proposal was more ambitious than the positions taken by the EU Council and Parliament, had a “balance“to get a degree”complicated file“. “Nobody should accept that waste and packaging are growing faster than GDP“, after founding a new one”record“Growth of 6% last year.

Treat packaging from a design perspective

The Council explained that the proposal applies to the treatment of all types of packaging, regardless of the materials used, as well as all packaging waste, regardless of its origin (industrial, manufacturing, retail or household).

The content of the text on “General guidelines“To deal with packaging from the capitals”most sustainability requirements for all types of packaging currently on the market and the main objectives proposed by the Commission“While at the same time the requirements for materials are strengthened”worrying“.

The countries are calling on the Commission to issue a report.before 2026“to determine whether the containers contain substances of concern”have a negative impact on the reuse or recycling of materials” either “affect chemical safety“.

Member states also agreed that packaging is considered recyclable.if they are used as a recyclable material and packaging waste can be collected, sorted and recycled on a large scale“: The requirements apply from 2035.

For example, among the many sections of the standard, the Council states: “Tea bags and fruit and vegetable labels must be biodegradable“This gives Member States the opportunity to require that other types of packaging, such as coffee capsules or lightweight plastic bags, also be biodegradable.

They also support restrictions on the handling of certain packaging, such as single-use plastics for fruits and vegetables, food and drinks, condiments and sauces in restaurants, and small cosmetics and hygiene products offered in accommodation, although some exceptions are allowed.

Treat the packaging

Less packaging

Countries also want to set targets for packaging to contain a minimum amount of recycled plastic by 2030 and 2040, with a mid-term review by the Community Director in 2034.

In addition, manufacturers and importers must reduce packaging.”unnecessary“by 5% by 2030 compared to 2018, by 10% by 2035 and by 15% by 2040, and the Commission will carry out audits every eight years.”


The countries have adopted the Commission’s approach, “Reusable containers require a minimum number of uses or revolutions during use, with the minimum number of revolutions being less than cardboard due to the different properties of this material“.

In addition, targets for 2030 and 2040 are proposed with different scales for large household appliances, food and take-away packaging, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks (except wine), transport packaging (except packaging for dangerous goods or large appliances and flexible packaging in direct contact). food) and group packaging.

Cardboard is exempt from these requirements depending on the location of the country.

bottles and cans

The countries’ approach also aims to encourage the selective collection of “At least 90% of single-use plastic bottles and metal beverage containers per year”by 2029, with the simultaneous introduction of a deposit return system.

The 27 also want to tighten the rules on packaging labeling. The environmental organization Zero Waste Europe represents an “improvement” on the position taken by the European Parliament.

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