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EU Parliament Adopts Revised Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation

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On November 22, 2023, the European Parliament adopted a revised version of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) with 426 members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voting in favor, 125 against, and 74 abstaining. (See the article, EU Proposal for a Regulation on Packaging and Packaging Waste – the Highlights, for background information on the regulation.)

The PPWR includes overall packaging reduction targets of 5% by 2030, 10% by 2035, and 15% by 2040. In addition to those targets, the MEPs want specific targets to reduce plastic packaging by 10% by 2030, 15% by 2035, and 20% by 2040. The MEPs also want to ban the sale of plastic carrier bags that are less than 15 microns thick (very lightweight plastic carrier bags) unless required for hygiene reasons or provided as primary packaging for loose food to help prevent food waste. 

Parliament’s version of the regulation also includes:

  • A ban on the use of so-called “forever chemicals,” such as per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFASs) and Bisphenol A (BPA) in food-contact packaging; 
  • Clarification of the requirements for packaging to be reused or refilled by specifying that final distributors of beverages and take-away food in the food service sector allow consumers the option of bringing their own containers; and
  • Requiring all packaging to be recyclable with strict criteria to be defined through secondary legislation. Certain temporary exemptions would be allowed, for example, for wood and wax food packaging.

Additionally, the MEPs want EU countries to ensure that 90% of materials contained in packaging (plastic, wood, ferrous metals, aluminum, glass, paper, and cardboard) are collected separately by 2029. Parliament stated in a news release that it is ready to begin discussions with national governments on the final form of the law, once the European Council has adopted its position.