The Impact of the New PPWR on Packaging Sustainability

The new Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) was approved by the European Parliament in late April. The Regulation represents a significant leap towards sustainability in the packaging industry. With stringent standards, it aims to boost recycling, reduce waste, and embrace circular economy principles.

Circular requirements for plastic packaging

Key measures of the Regulation include mandating recycled content in plastic packaging, with targets of 30% by 2030 and 50% by 2040. This means, the plastic components of packaging placed on the EU market must contain a minimum amount of recycled material derived from consumer plastic waste, depending on the type and shape of the packaging. This is calculated per manufacturing facility and per year. 

The Regulation also enforces re-use targets, refill obligations, and deposit return systems for single-use items to enhance recycling rates. For instance, Member States must achieve a separate collection rate of at least 90% per year for single-use plastic bottles and metal drinks containers by 2029.

Extended producer responsibility challenges the market

The Regulation restricts specific packaging formats and implements extended producer responsibility, holding producers accountable for waste management costs. This shift is a challenge, but also drives innovation and encourages businesses to adopt greener practices. 

The new regulation is expected to enter into force in early summer 2024 and will be phased in 18 months after entry into force. As the phase of the PPWR approaches, operators covered by it and other stakeholders need to prepare well in advance. In preparing, it is important to be vigilant about the definitions contained in the Regulation and to carefully align them with the requirements of other legislation in the business. 

For related questions Fondia's corporate responsibility and sustainable development experts are happy to help.